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What is the risk that I caught HIV through a crackpipe?
Jan 22, 2012

I have never smoked crack before but one night, when I was very depressed, I was looking for cocaine and could only find crack and shared a pipe or two. I didn't have any open cuts in the beginning or end of the night, but when I woke up, I saw dried blood on my lip. What are the chances that I contracted HIV? Would both parties need to have open sores to allow HIV transmission? Could they be little cuts or do they have to be relatively open? I'm going to get tested when I'm at the three month mark, but I want to know if I'm being silly or I seriously put myself at risk for contracting HIV.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

There is little risk (but not zero) that you contracted the virus by sharing a crack pipe. Here is a link to a previous post about this concern and another discussing harm reduction with a crack pipe. I post these knowing that some people are addicted and really struggling with this issue. Total abstinence is the only option, but many struggle along the road to getting clean. Crack cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs around and should be avoided at all costs.

Mood changing drugs simply distract or numb painful feelings and ultimately make any situation worse. If you are experiencing depression find a professional or a support group with whom you can share your feelings and get help.

-David



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