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vaginal fluid
Jun 6, 2001

Thanks in advance for taking your time anwering my question:

I had smear of someones vaginal fluid on my right hand. I cleaned it with a tissue so it's almost dried off. And a minute and 1/2 later I washed my hands with water. Later I was concerned because a had a paper cut on my left hand about 8 hours before the possible contact during the hand washing. The cut wasn't bleeding but I did see raw meat.

Can HIV transmit this way? How long does HIV live in vaginal fluid outsite the body? Am I at risk?

Thanks again for your dedication and providing much needed help for people.

Response from Dr. Little

The risk of HIV infection after exposure of non-intact skin to vaginal secretions is VERY small. In general, unless your skin was open AND bleeding, I would consider the risk to be so close to zero that I would not worry. As always, I recommend routing HIV antibody testing which is available at no cost at the public health department just to document that you are currently HIV negative. If you are still concerned that your skin might have been open, then I would get tested again in 6 months, but again I would stress, the risk is nearly zero.

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