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Under finger nail

Jan 6, 2002

Recently I went to a HIV testing site and on my way out I jammed my finger on the door handle. A part of the metal touched under my finger nail. I check my finger and saw no noticable blood or cut. If in fact there was infected blood on the handle is it possible it could seep into my bloodstream? Would such a tiny amount of blood pose a threat? I realize that this is low risk, but I rather have an expert's opinion. Thank you.

Response from Mr. Kull

There is no evidence that people are infected through the type of contact that you are describing, which is often described as "casual contact" (everyday sort of contact that does not involve exchange of fluids, as there might be during sexual activity, needle sharing, mother-to-infant, or to a healthcare worker).

One of the main reasons that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact is that HIV does not survive in the environment long, outside of a human host. Scientists found that drying fluids containing very high concentrations of HIV(concentrations that are not normally encountered in day-to-day life) reduced the number of infectious virus by 90% to 99%. It is safe to say, based on these laboratory studies, that HIV would become uninfectious realitively quickly when exposed to the environment, making transmission through indirect contact with another person's fluids remote. (see


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