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Scratch by dog
Nov 4, 2011

Hi.

Last week I visited a HIV+ friend. I brought my small dog (Yorkshire Terrier) that likes to scratch people's legs as a greeting. He scratched my friend's leg (I didn't notice if he bled) and 2-3 minutes afterwards the dog scratched my arm, I didn't bleed but the skin burned and got red, and the outer broke a little.

I know that the H in HIV stands for 'human' and that dogs cannot contract it, but could the (hypothetical) blood in the dog's nail be fresh enough in order to be infective? Am I at risk?

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

Thanks for writing in. No, there is no risk. Even if there was HIV infected blood on the dog's nails:

A. The virus would start to die the moment it left the human body, rendering it unable to infect you.

B. Your skin wasn't broken. No broken skin = no way for the virus to enter your body

I hope this helps.

In health, Richard



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