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Getting HIV from someone's fingers?The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions

Aug 12, 1996

I was recently involved in a situation where the female partnerI was with touched her vagina (with no actual penetration) and then shortly after that (under 1 minute) brushed her finger on my bottom lip. I was just wondering what was the risk in terms of HIV transmission from this act. I did not have any visible cuts/sores on my lips and I did not lick my bottom lip after the incident. I have girlfriend and I am worried about passing anything on to her.Signed Worried & Anxious

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Worried & Anxious,

Thank you for your question.

Based on what you told me, your risk of infection would be very low. In order to become infected, her vaginal secretions would have to directly enter your bloodstream (assuming she was infected in the first place). Chances are you were not exposed to any significant quantity of her vaginal secretions. The less of her vaginal secretions you were exposed to, the less your risk would be.

HIV would have to enter your bloodstream through a fresh open cut or sore. Although your risks for HIV are technically possible, they are highly unlikely, since you were not exposed to any significant amount of her vaginal secretions. If you want to get tested for peace of mind, you would have to wait 6 months after your last possible exposure to the virus to get an antibody test that is more than 99% accurate. You would be considered at significant risk if you had unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with her, or if you gave her oral sex. But based on what you told me happened, your chances of infection are quite small.

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