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big cracks
Dec 22, 2011

Hi Dr. I am from Australia I have so many big cracks on my leg. During walking its so painful sometimes some blood is come out from my cracks. Once day my friends has cuts his finger by knife. During this a very very small drop of his blood is falling down on the tiles. Just after 1 minute I placed my leg(having so many cracks) on this drop of blood. My question is that if my friend was HIV infected and if this drop of HIV infected blood is entered in to my body (or in blood stream) through my cracks (present on my leg) then can I get contaminated by HIV?

Response from Dr. McGowan

HIV is spread from person to person by exposure to their blood or other infected body fluids (such as semen or vaginal secretions).

The risk of transmitting virus is based on a few factors: 1) Most importantly is the amount of virus in the infected persons blood....a higher level leads to increased risk, a lower level is less risky. In fact there is almost no risk of a person transmitting HIV if their viral load is undetectable on medications. 2) The type of exposure is important: A needle stick that breaks the skin that has blood on it from the infected person is most risky, infection through an open/fresh wound more risky, dried wounds less risky, mucous membranes (in teh mouth/eyes) less risky and intact skin zero. 3) If sexual contact the receptive (anal or vaginal) is at higher risk than the insertive partner and oral sex is less risky than anal or vaginal. 4) Dried blood has essentially no risk and the longer the body fluids are exposed to air the less infectious.

So, in your case there are many factors. Firstly, your friend may not be infected (in fact less than 1 in 1000 people in Australia is HIV infected) and the risk of transmission (even if he were infected) is very low from this type of exposure (certainly less than 1/1000 again), so mathematically you have less tha 1 in 1 million chance of getting infected from teh scenario you described. You are better off buying a lottery ticket and forgetting about it.

Joe



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