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Was I at risk of transmission from having another person's blood on me?
Feb 3, 2014

I was cleaning up a guys's bloody nose (with gloves). As I was doing that I got some of his blood on my forearm, just a small amount, that I don't know how long had been there. As soon as I saw it I cleaned it up with a disinfectant. I didn't actually wash my arm with water or soap because I figured that disinfectant had bleach in it and it was just a small amount of blood. At the time I didn't think anything of it because I figured that there were no open wounds in my skin. However, I have been reading that there might be "micro fissures" in the skin that might allow HIV to transmit. I'm not particularly worried about this incident because I reported the incident and was told that there was nothing to worry about. However, I need some clarification. When does blood on skin become an issue? As I understand, healthy skin is a great barrier that protects from HIV, but at the same time I'm not sure what constitutes "healthy" skin since we might not even know if micro fissures are present. Please answer my question. I appreciate and thanks in advance. I think that what you do is great and I hope to become more informed.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi There is no risk here. As long as skin is in tact there is no threat of HIV entering the body. HIV transmission can only occur when there is a direct and prolonged exposure to body fluids, semen, vaginal fluid, blood or mother to child through breast feeding. This most commonly occurs through unprotected vaginal or anal sex and sharing of needles. Casual contact, sharing utensils, drinking after someone, etc are not way for HIV transmission to occur. If you go to this link HIV101 it will take you to our page that talks about the ways in which HIV is and is not transmitted.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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