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splashed in eye
Jan 6, 2012

Dear Dr Cordova, While in the kitchen, an acquaintance of unknown status was washing his hands in the sink, then handed me a plastic garbage bag with his hands still dripping wet with water. I observed no blood on the bag, just water. I then shook the bag to open it, and the water sprayed in the air, with a drop hitting my eyeball. Later that night I noticed many healing cuts and abrasions on the acquaintance's hands, scabbed over as far as I could tell. Later someone advised me that the acquaintance had been scratched a few days ago.

Is there any risk here for HIV transmission? Is testing warranted medically?

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

Studies indicate the average risk for HIV transmission after mucousal membrane exposure is approximately 0.09%. That is extremely low, and from the situation you describe, it does not sound like there was any blood present. The moment your skin is broken, your body starts to repair the break by sending clotting agents to stop the flow of blood. Even had there been some blood present, it would have been diluted by the water. Furthermore, we don't even know the status of this person.

All these factors tell me there was no risk, and a test is not warranted. I hope this helps,

In health,

Richard



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