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Cut from HIV Test box (Donation?)
Feb 17, 2013

Hello Mr Glenn,

I have looked through the forum and found nothing like my situation. I have also looked through the recent questions and noticed that you seem to be the only one really answering questions recently, and for that I thank you.

I haven't been a long time user of this site, but it really means a lot to know that there is an expert out there willing to share his knowledge.

That being said, here's what happened: I bought the OraQuick at home HIV test from a local Walgreens, and when reaching into my backpack to grab an iPod charger, my finger got sliced open by the corner of the box.

Bad. It was moderately deep and bleeding pretty good. I got the bleeding to stop, but then a thought crossed my mind.

Seeing as I bought this test right off the shelf open to everybody, what if someone HIV+ had just handled it before I did? What if they sneezed on it or spat on it? Had a fresh cut on their hand?

Normally I would think very little of a cut like this, but the fact that it came from an HIV test box and that it was so deep really has got me worried? Should I postpone taking the test three months because of this, or am I just being paranoid? (there was no visible blood on the box)

I've read that it can't be transferred through a cut without excessive blood, but what about being transferred FROM a cut. As in being cut with a surface with HIV on it as opposed to HIV being put onto an already existent wound.

If you could give me a "yes you are at risk because..." or "no this is no risk because..." I'd be eternally grateful. I would really appreciate specifics of why or why not.

That's really the end to my main question, thank you so much for you're time!

I was sad to hear of Dr Bob's passing, but I know he used to have a donation line of some kind? Is that still existent, and if so how could I contribute? I really think this is a great site and really appreciate what you are doing.

Just doing research about HIV in general I have these questions as well, but if you do not have the time to answer them please just ignore them and answer my main one. Thanks again!

From the forum here I've heard that spit is not a way of HIV transmission, but oral sex is? Even if the person giving the deed doesn't have bleeding gums per say?

Also, I have done some research and found completely conflicting results on how long HIV does live outside the body, hearing things from seconds to weeks. I realize it probably has to do with the concentration of the HIV virus and the environment, but on average how long would it last at room temperature (25 degrees Celsius)?

If you could clear this up for me as well, I'd be extremely grateful.

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for your curiosity,

I'm glad that our site has been helpful to you.

But there have been many questions similar, if not exactly the same as yours. Also, each and every one of our forum experts spends a lot of time finding the best ways to respond to the multitude of questions we receive. Even the questions that come up repeatedly. We understand that it can be very comforting to receive personalized answers.

Please feel free to continue sending any questions that you have! But also feel free to scan our archives for responses similar to yours. It can also be helpful to talk about some of these concerns with a medical doctor or even a mental health professional (if you're experiencing a significant amount of stress) face to face.

But on to your questions:

There is absolutely no risk from the situation with the box. HIV is not transmitted by sneezes, spit, or dry blood. The only fluids that can transmit HIV are (wet and fresh) blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.

HIV can only be transmitted when a body fluid with HIV comes out of someone's body and goes immediately/directly inside of someone else's body. Because of this, people only get infected in specific ways.

Oral sex can be risky for HIV because of the possible presence of blood in the mouth. Oral sex is considered very low risk because, as you've implied, bleeding gums aren't something that happens so often.

As for how long HIV lives outside of the body, the most important thing to keep in mind is what I just mentioned: HIV basically needs to come out of someone's body and go right into someone else. HIV can't be transmitted from blood that's been lying around for instance. At room temperature, it's going to dry and be inactive very quick.

Hope all this helps,

Erik



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