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HIV environmental transmission
Jan 22, 2013

Ms. Southall,

I'd first of all like to thank you for your time in answering my question. I've been having quite a bit of anxiety related to the possibility of contracting HIV.

I am a 19-year-old male. I am not sexually active, nor do I use any drugs administered via injection. I'd like to ask if there is any risk of being infected by being in public places with an open wound (such as a cut on a finger). In my own personal case, I tore a hangnail off of my finger and began to bleed while I was at the mall. I later went to the gym while the wound was still healing (it was oozing a bit of clear fluid). Is there any possibility that I may have contracted the illness by walking around with such a wound?

Thank you very much again for your time and answers. I've been very bothered by the thought of the illness and hopefully your answer will put my anxieties to rest.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi The risk of HIV transmission in your situation is HIGHLY unlikely! Your open wound would have to come into contact with a significant amount of blood, vaginal fluid or semen. HIV is not transmitted through saliva or sweat. The contact would have to be a direct exchange of body fluid, because once outside of the body HIV begins to die and is unable to infect.

You are fine!

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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