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Question about hangnails.

Feb 5, 2001

About 8 and a half years ago I had protected sex with a girl from college who was kinda promiscuous. The next day I noticed an area on one of my fingers that had a small hangnail.(I fingered her with this finger) It was not bleeding or weeping but had peeled the top layer of skin and was a little irritated. Raw meat was not exposed. I remember the events just like it was yesterday. I immediatly started to do some research and read that people who become newly infected experience flu-like or mono-like symptoms. I immediately started looking for these symptoms but had none. (Never even got sick for at least three years.) Since I had none I figured I was safe and definitely not infected(I felt perfectly fine). It scared me so much that I stayed abstinent until I met my wife years later. Then recently I found out that not all people who become infected with HIV experience the Flu-like symptoms. I started to become scared about that night in college but remembered that when my wife gave birth to our baby last year that she was tested and tested negative. So then I thought that I was safe because she was negative. Then I found out that is not always true that you are neg. just because your partners is. Please don't think I am irresponsible. But what is the chances of becoming infected through a hangnail or cut on your finger that is only partially healed but not weeping, oozing or bleeding.

Response from Mr. Kull

It is highly unlikely that you would get infected by fingering someone, hangnail or not. Please read through the frequently asked questions, especially What are the risks from fingering someone?, for information about HIV transmission.

The process of diagnosing an HIV infection based on symptoms experienced close to an exposure is extremely complex. Do not try to determine your likelihood for being infected based on the presence or absence of symptoms after an exposure.


Accuracy and timing of HIV PCR Testing
Giving blood 3 months post very low risk

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