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Scratch on Scratch (Unusual, Very Specific Situation)
Dec 28, 2012

Hi there,

I was playing fighting only with the fingers, hands tied to a friend, who is HIV positive. We held our hands tight, rubbing one another, moving the fingers, trying to immobilize them, for one minute, or a little more.

Some time later I noticed a small sore (around 1 mm wide, just red skin, no blood came out of it) at the bottom of the nail of the ring finger, and other two nail scratches at the back of my hand. And a bigger (2 millimeters maybe), non bleeding, deeper, but still superficial nail scratch on my wrist.

Now, three days later, the scratches at the back of my hand are almost invisible. The wrist and close to the nail in the ring finger are closed but still very red. My friend also noticed one small nail scratch at the second joint of his finger, in the outer part of his hand. He said there was a very little red dot on it, like if one small drop of blood came out of it. I did NOT notice any blood in clothes, hands or whatsoever.

My question is, assuming that his scratch got contacts with my scratches, which is very likely as we were holding and rubbing hands, for about a minute, the HIV could be spread this way? Or the scratches are too small to be an entry door? am I overreacting, being so horrified about it?

I was tested before, a couple of times when donating blood. And me and my wife never got exposed to any extra conjugal sex acts. We have a 7 years old boy and I am very worried.

I consider myself very well informed about the ways of infection, but this one is very unusual, because we were kind of hurting our skins, with our nails, involuntarily, at the same time.

Please, could you help me?

And thank you very much.

Response from Ms. Southall

HI This is not a risk. The scratches are small and there would need to be a significant amount of blood present. Also reduces the risk is that he knows his status and is most likely in care and on treatment which should mean that he has an undetectable viral load. Yes in theory blood to blood transmission is possible but in your situation it is not probable.

You are fine! Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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