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Question #1: acne and aids Question #2: Question about the spreading of A.I.D.S and Diabetes?
Sep 2, 1997

Hi. Since it seems that acne can be broken by hard rubbing or other picking, would it be possible that blood-borne diseases such as HIV could be transmitted by close contact with a person that has one of these diseases and a lot of acne? What kind of risk would this pose? Thank You for answering my question.

Mr. Sowadsky. I need a question answered about a resent incident I had the other day. I do not have A.I.D.S, but what happened is I got involved in trying to help a motorcyclist, who had gotten in an accident. I was at the scene of the accident first. He was laying on the street uncontuios. In trying to help him I got his blood on my hand , but I did not have an open wound. I how ever am a diabetic. I test my blood 2 times a day. My Question is: Can the blood of the motorcyclist penetrate trough the places where I poke my self to draw blood for testing purposes. I am worried about this. Actually the motorcyclist, finally got up on his own and got into a fight with the cop that was trying to help him. I think the motorcyclist was a very scummy type person. My family is also worried about this. I have a wife and 3 kids. They need to know to ease their minds. Thanks for your time, Terry

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions. Both of these questions deal with breakdowns in the integrity of the skin. Simply put, if there is any breakdown in the integrity of the skin, and a high risk body fluid like blood, semen, or vaginal secretions gets directly onto that opening, then transmission may occur.

Acne can be considered a breakdown in the integrity of the skin. If blood, semen, or vaginal secretions were to get directly onto broken skin (like that sometimes seen with acne), transmission can occur, since this could allow HIV to get into the bloodstream. The more severe the acne, the greater the risk would be. However, these body fluids must get directly onto (and into) the area where the skin is compromised (broken). If these body fluids do not go directly into the broken areas of the skin, transmission will not occur.

If the infected person were to have acne, they would have to be actively bleeding, and their blood would have to have a direct access to your bloodstream. If they were not actively bleeding, they would not pose a risk of infection to you, even if they had acne.

Regarding the diabetic, persons with diabetes will often stick themselves once or more per day, to monitor their blood sugar. If another persons blood were to get onto the wound cause by the fingerstick, transmission may occur, but only if a scab has not yet formed. If a scab is present, or if the cut is beginning to heal, this is no longer considered a direct access to the bloodstream, and would not be considered a significant risk. With any first aid situation, everyone should always use latex gloves while giving first aid, whenever there is a chance of getting blood on your hands.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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