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Is my question too serious to get a response?
Jan 11, 2012

I totally understand you must get hundreds of "worried well" questions. I just don't understand why these crazy questions get your attention, but a "real life" type, "honest" question doesn't. There isn't any, "I touched a doorknob" or "I went to the bathroom in a public restroom" type question here, but I do have a question I can't find an answer to. I hear all the time, that if you touch someone's blood you should be careful. For instance if someone is hurt you should wear gloves, or try to have as little contact with their blood as possible. I have always assumed that is for your safety, you don't want to get their blood in any open wounds you may have. But what if you have been cut, and bleeding badly and someone comes to help you and touches your cut and blood without gloves on and you don't know the integrity of their hands. What is the risk?

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for the question.

I'm not sure if we're talking about risk for HIV or other blood-borne diseases. Let's take HIV first, when we're talking about transmission of HIV through blood we need two things: HIV positive blood coming out of someone's body and a way for it to another person's body.

If you have an open (bleeding) cut and someone if touching it, they would need to ALSO be bleeding to give you HIV through that cut. They would also need a good amount of blood coming out of their body. If may be hard to know the integrity of their hands, but remember skin is strong on healthy hands usually.

In this situation, if the person helping you actually does have a small cut on their hands. It's actually more likely for you to get blood into THEIR cut since we know that you have a lot of blood present.

As for other diseases like Hepatitis B and C, they are much easier to transmit than HIV when all the details of the situation are the same. These should also be something in this situation should test for. That being said, remember that we need blood to go out of one person's body and into another for there to be risk for any of these diseases in the first place.

Thanks for your question. We get a variety of honest questions here at the forum that we do our best to answer.

Hope this helps,

Erik



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