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Concerned about cut on hand!!
Aug 28, 2001

I am a roofing contractor and often have various cuts on my hands, in addition to being a finger nail biter (which I am trying to stop). Upon shaking hands w/ an individual, my right uncovered, thumb nail was much too short, thus I am concerned that my short nail was an entry point for HIV blood into my body. There however, was no visible blood, but my short nail is my concern. Also, blood would be noticeable if on my hand? Correct? This has my mind so preoccupied. Thank you for your response.

Response from Ms. Breuer

In a job like yours, it's impossible to keep your hands injury-free, so let's work on keeping your mind perfectly clear about what is risky and what is not. A roofing contractor needs to be able to concentrate on the job!

Your handshake did not put you at risk. In a handshake, the risk of transmitting blood would likely be palm to palm, and both people would have to have fresh, bleeding cuts. In fact, someone who was still bleeding from a fresh cut generally wouldn't be ready to shake hands with anyone. He'd be doing all the pointless things we do when we cut our hands, like sucking on the cut or shaking his hand in the air.

We have no cases on record out of more than 700,000 cases to date in which HIV was transmitted through a handshake. To minimize your risk of coming in contact with other diseases through an open cut, please do bandage a cut that bleeds. And keep going on that anti-nail-biting campaign. Openings in the skin are portals for bacteria and can cause a surprisingly nasty infection. You deserve better!

Thank you, Nancy!
fresh wound

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