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Exposure risk from touching blood
Dec 26, 2010

First off great site and loads of info! My question is in regards to an occupational (law enforcement) exposure to blood. Recently while arresting a subject I didn't have time to put my gloves on and during the hand cuffing I got two small spots of his blood on my either of my index fingers from what looked to be a not so fresh cut/abrasion on his hand. I didn't notice this until about 5 minutes later and at this point applied generous amounts of alcohol based hand sanitizer and then proceeded to wash my hands with anti-bacterial soap. I don't have any cuts or open wounds on my hands except for a couple of days old hangnail which didn't appear to have any blood near it. I'm somewhat paranoid that prior to washing my hands I may have brushed my outer lip with my finger but a quick check revealed no signs of blood or anything else near my mouth. I've no idea of the subjects health status and there's really nothing which would lead me to believe that he has anything contagious other than my own paranoia. I was hoping you could provide some insight and help calm my nerves as to what my risk of HIV transmission from this incident may be?

Thank you very much for your help!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your HIV-acquisition risk is nonexistent. HIV cannot permeate intact skin. I would suggest you peruse the wealth of information on this web site. As you mentioned, "loads of info" can be found here. The archives of this forum, for instance, has entire chapters on HIV nonsexual prevention and HIV nonsexual transmission. Pay particular attention to exactly how HIV is and is not transmitted. As a law enforcement professional, this won't be your only encounter with blood.

Happy Holidays.

Dr. Bob



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