Finger Pricked - HIV+

Question

My sister in law is HIV+ and she pricked her finger (blood drawn) on a sprig of holly in a holiday table decoration. A few minutes later (about 3) my 13 year old daughter went to remove the decoration from the table and accidentally pricked her finger as well. She bled as well and of course this is extremely worrisome. Is there any risk of infection through this means of transmission since there was only a small amount of blood drawn in both cases. Am anxiously awaiting your response. Thank you

Answer

A lot of factors need to be present for HIV to be transmitted, and while it is possible that they were in this case, it is highly unlikely. Blood from your sister-in-law's finger would have had to come into contact with your daughter's bloodstream (meaning that the positive blood would need to come into direct contact with the punctured skin). Other factors such as the amount of virus in the blood, the depth of the puncture in your daughter's finger, and the viability of virus after being exposed to air for three minutes would have played a role in this situation.

I understand that this would be troubling for you. If you feel that your daughter is at risk for infection, you might want to get her tested, but you run the risk of alarming her unnecessarily. If your daughter's health remains a concern to you, then I'd recommend that you talk with your family doctor about this situation.

RMK