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HIV Transmission from/through Scratches ?
Dec 22, 1999

Hi Michael,

I come across an encounter and would like your expert views and opinions on it.

I've always been served by this HIV positive beautician for about 2 years and have not feared for my life before. BUT since 11 Oct 1999, I've been living in fear of contracting HIV.

On that day, while she was massaging my face, the phone rang and she was distracted. As a result of this distraction, she scratched forcefully (with her finger nails) onto the back of my neck/nape. It was very painful indeed and I asked to have the whole session stopped.

Just then, I remembered that she is a HIV carrier. May I know:-

1. If it is possible to be exposed to HIV from her scratches ? (I could see those "red" scratch marks via the mirror, but I cannot ascertain if the skin was chapped on my nape). I also did not take notice if there were any cuts on her fingers.

2. I'm running a fever with a bad sore throat, cough and runny nose now (21 Dec 99) which is about 10 weeks after that incident. Am I suffering from the Acute primary HIV infection stage now ?

3. Can HIV be found "hidden" in the finger nails of a carrier?

4. What should/can I do now ?

Your assistance in this matter is highly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I am not an expert on transmission. Please reask this question to the Body's transmission expert. Michael Shernoff, MSW



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