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wound-to-wound contact
Apr 10, 2009

Hello Doctor,

I am asking this question to you after I have searched all over the internet and here on this forum for many days. Please help me make this one of those QTND (Questions that never die). I will make a donation for supporting the wonderful work that you are doing. I live with a HIV+ roommate and getting this thing sorted out, and out of my head is very important for me to help and support my friend.

Few days ago I was shaving off some hair from the back of my neck. During the shaving at one point the razor was applied with a little bit more pressure and it grazed the skin which subsequently become reddish and I would feel a burning sensation if I touched it with my fingers. However, I did not bleed. I was trying to figure out what happened and so I asked my roommate to check and see if I had got any rashes on my skin. He felt the area with his fingers.

I then noticed that my roommate had been rubbing a wound on his arm with his fingers. It was a partially healed open wound that was not actively bleeding at that time. However, if you looked at it you could see that some of the skin was gone, you could see some flesh, and it appeared watery and reddish.

So basically the following happened:

My friend had a wound(not a scratch) that was open and was partially healed. Partially meaning that blood was not dripping out (it was clotted) but there was no skin covering the wound and it appeared to be watery and reddish. My friend was rubbing this wound with his fingers and almost immediately after that he touched my infected skin for some time. My skin was grazed by a razor. It was not bleeding but was reddish and had a burning sensation and had a few minor cuts (like little red lines that hurt a little).

Could this scenario have any possibility of HIV transmission. Is testing warranted for this? (apart from relieving my fears). I would not like to get tested if this was a no risk sitation beacuse I know that testing wouldn't solve anything. I will have to educate myself because otherwise tomorrow something else (minor) can happen and I would be worried all over again.

Sorry for the long question but I really need to know if this was a risky encounter and if I should test for this. Donation is on the way. Thank you very very much.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your HIV-acquisition risk from the events you describe is nonexistent. If HIV were that easy to catch, it would have wiped out the planet long ago. The only reason to consider testing would be to put any residual fears permanently to rest and give you peace of mind. The result will undoubtedly be negative.

Check out the archives of this forum. We have entire chapters devoted to non-sexual HIV prevention and non-sexual HIV transmission. HIV is not contracted by casual contact. Your roommate will not be a risk to you as long as you're not having unsafe sex with him! OK?

Thanks for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Be well. Get informed. Stop worrying. OK?

Dr. Bob



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