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HIV risk from being "Cut by broken tile"

Jan 26, 2012

Hi - Tonight I stepped onto a piece of broken tile on the shower floor at a gym in the heart of the Castro. I pulled the tile out of my foot and it was bleeding. What are my chances of getting infected by HIV? If someone who was HIV positive just got cut by the same piece of broken tile, how long can the virus survive on the tile? How is this situation different from a nurse getting pricked by a needle? I am freaked out and wonder if it's necessary to get PEP. Thanks for you help!

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for your question,

This is similar to my colleague Richard'sresponse to a recent question. I'll echo his answer "You were not at risk for HIV in this situation."

HIV simply can't survive outside of the human body. So by the time you got around to the tile HIV would've been dead. ALSO, if you're in a shower everything is getting washed down the drain. ALSO, what are the odds that blood is smattered over the shower floor?

A nurse getting pricked by a needle filled with remnants of HIV+ blood right after it leaves the body of a patient is a completely different kind of situation. COMPLETELY.

Let's take a step back though.. For some people, they get worried on HIV in this kind of situation because they're simply unaware of how HIV is transmitted. However for others, this anxiety is more about a paranoia that HIV is easy to get, lurks in everyday environments, and is more of a concern when there are many gay men around. If the latter is the case, remember that information/education is great but it's important to really question this paranoia and get to it's source.

Hope this helps!


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