dried blood on an HIV patient

Question

Hi dr. Bob! Im a nurse, and i received a patient from the ER with penile bleeding. He is HIV+, and as i introduced myself to him, he shook my hand and while talking to him i noticed that his hand is covered with dried blood. I immediately went to a sink to wash my hands and i applied a alcohol based disinfectant. My thumb has a little peeling and it stinged after i applied the alcohol. But theres no visible blood from my thumb. I immediately called my supervisor and i went to see a doctor. As a protocol they called the PEP hotline. They didnt recommend any PEP therapy. I filed an exposure report and the communicable doc also doesnt recommend prophylaxis. I am just paranoid and totally gross-out of that incident. Please give me your opinion. Thanks alot.

Answer

Hi,

You did the correct thing reporting and documenting the incident and having the potential exposure evaluated. I agree your HIV-acquisition risk is negligible and that PEP was not warranted. Dried blood is not considered an HIV risk. You can be HIV-antibody tested at three and six months, if you remain concerned. The odds are astronomically in your favor that you did not contract HIV from this bloody handshake.

Be well.

Dr. Bob