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Very urgent. Please help? HIV Risk?

Jun 30, 2014

Hi there,

I have a question and worry. Please help me?

A few days ago I went to a hospital as a volunteer. We shook hands with patients around the hospital, Everything went great except that when i reached home, I realized that I have forgotten to put a plaster over my wound. I then panicked because I remembered a patients holding my hand, with his thumb pressing against mine hardly. I remember that the patient has some red marks all over his body, including his thumbs and hands. I am unsure of the patient's medical history. I cannot ask also.

What I worry is that if the patient has HIV, and the red marks on his thumb is blood, is it possible for HIV to be transmitted into my wound this way if he was bleeding while holding my hand? I was stupid cause i forgot to check if anyone was bleeding and I had forgotten to out a plaster over my wound. I want to ask if there is any HIV risks in this encounter? I didn't check to see immediately to see if there were blood on my wound or bleeding after the handshake. I only remembered hours later, maybe 3 hours later or so.I don't know whether my cut was bleeding or not either, Thats a huge problem. Please help me? I am really panicking and being very very worried I don't know what to do. Please help me? Am I at huge risk of HIV?

Thank you and many thanks

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi No need to worry! 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.

Shaking hands with someone is not a way for transmission to transmit. You can drink, eat, go to the restroom after someone living with HIV and there is no risk for transmission.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon

complicated case
Am I ok

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