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Very Frightened! Contact with stranger's blood
Aug 21, 2001

Upon cleaning a ladies bathroom in an office building, I lifted the toilet seat to clean the bowl. There was not a substantial, yet noticeable blood under the seat. I had a non bleeding, although visible cut on my thumb and I just don't know if I touched the blood! Was I at risk for HIV? I am concerned, due to my cut thumb which was not covered. I do not know how long the blood was there, also approx. how long does it take blood dry outside of the body? I am most concerned, due to my injuried thumb. Thank you so much for your response.

Response from Ms. Breuer

First, let's make a deal. Given your work, let's make a deal that you'll cover all your hand cuts with a bandage in the future, okay? This is way too much stress to endure repeatedly!

Second, if your cut was old enough that it wasn't bleeding anymore, then the blood you touched probably had no way to get into your own bloodstream. If your cut had been open, you would have been at some risk for hepatitis B. That's why I'm asking you to cover your cuts in the future. But any HIV in exposed blood would dry up as the blood dries up.There is no record of anyone getting HIV from the kind of contact you describe.

Please just take this as a good reminder to cover those cuts. I think you're fine. But if worry still nags at you, go to your local HIV testing center and get a test when it's been 12 weeks since the exposure. You'll feel better.

Thank you for writing.

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