How do you define an open wound?

Question

Dear Doc,

I have donated to your association a few times. I believe that more efforts should be done to battle HIV. I wrote in a few times but not every time I have gotten a reply. I understand how busy you are but I really hope I can get your advice this time around. I am from a Southeast Asia country and yes, your fame has reached our shores. I wonder what is meant by 'open wounds'. I understand if hiv blood comes into contact with my open wounds I will have a risk. My story was I was the guy scratched badly by my cat, which cause my wounds to be pretty 'open', no active bleeding but raw and reddish, like the flesh is showing. And some sex workers grabbed me at my wounds. I am worried because I do not know if they had open wounds on their palms when they grabbed me. What if they had bleeding wounds on their palms? Should I wait 3 months for a test then? I still do not dare to have unprotected sex with my wife and it is affecting our r/s, :( Please help me. Thanks.

Answer

Hello,

If HIV-infected fluids came into contact with "non-intact" skin, there would be a theoretical risk for HIV transmission. In your case of cat scratches followed by being grabbed by a few naughty ladies from Shady Lane, the HIV-transmission risk is so remote it's essentially nonexistent. I do not feel HIV testing is warranted medically. However, if my reassurance isn't enough to shake your worries, get a single HIV test at the three-month mark to put your (unwarranted) worries permanently to rest. The result will undoubtedly be negative.

Dr. Bob