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I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for such a wonderful resource as this site.
Nov 23, 2011

Hi,

I have a question that might seem a little ridiculous, but I'm upset by the situation regardless.

My friend and I were braiding her hair in multiple, small braids, she doing some and myself doing some. She had a cold, so kept blowing her nose throughout the process, then going back to braiding. She had just blown her nose, and I grabbed some hair to begin braiding, and noticed some wet spots on my hand and fingers. She must have gotten some nasal mucus on the hair when she was separating the pieces to braid, and then I touched the snotty hair.

Normally I wouldn't worry, but I don't know whether or not there was any blood in the mucus I touched. I didn't see any blood on my hand, just felt moisture and saw some shiny, wet spots, but I only looked very quickly and then wiped my hand off, so maybe I missed something.

Also, although I certainly don't remember having any cuts at the the time I was braiding, when I got home and thoroughly inspected my hands and fingers, I noticed a tiny (1-2 mm) spot/line of blood on the webbing between my pointer and middle fingers. I put alcohol on it, and it didn't sting, but it could very well have been a fresh, albeit minuscule, cut while I was braiding.

To compound my worry, I had combed her hair too roughly earlier, and tore a hair out from its root, leaving a very small red spot that appeared to have bled an extremely small amount.

I was combing through my boyfriend's hair with my fingers earlier while he had some bleeding scalp pimples-he's been tested negative, so no worry there-, so perhaps the blood between my fingers came from that, but it could just as well have been a cut I got, or even a cut I got mixed with blood from my friend's torn hair follicle or nasal mucus.

So, I'm worried that either blood from the torn hair or blood in the nasal mucus could have entered the extremely small cut between my fingers and infected me with HIV. Is this something I should be at all concerned about? I don't want to worry about cuts I might not know I have when touching or interacting with people, just in case they are bleeding or have a cut too.

Do I need to be tested in three months? Or am I overreacting and this is no risk?

I love my friend, but she has had an HIV exposure risk in the past, and I don't know her serostatus.

Please help me out, was this situation a risk for HIV?

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

You have no risk. Happy Thanksgiving.

In health, Richard



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