I was hoping that you could clear up some information for me regarding
small cuts. How long would it take a cut (made on the skin, not mucous
membranes) the size made by a lancet(or smaller- but a cut that still
draws blood)to no longer be an access to the bloodstream. Many times in
these small cuts(perhaps made by a person biting their fingernails and
cuticle) a scar(if by that you mean a visible black/dark spot) will not
appear for many hours. But these cuts surely must not be an access to
the bloodstream for more than 10 or 20 minutes. Is this what you mean by
a cut that is no longer an access to the bloodstream because "it is
healing"? Also, for a laceration to be a direct access to the
bloodstream there would of once have had to be blood coming from the la
ceration. Even miniscule cuts bleed-correct? Thank you.
Hi. Thank you for your question.
Let me clarify once and for all, about
cuts, and HIV's ability to access the bloodstream.
Any breakdown in the integrity of the skin can allow HIV to enter the
bloodstream. This includes cuts, abrasions, lesions from STD's (like
herpes), or skin problems like dermatitis. For cuts, once a scab forms
(usually within a few hours), this would no longer be an access to the
bloodstream. Of course, the deeper the cut, or the more severe the damage to
the skin, the longer it will take for healing to take place. Not everyone
heals (and therfore produces a scab) at the same rate, so nobody can give you
an exact amount of time it would take for a cut to heal, or for a scab to
form. But the larger the cut, the greater the amount of time it would take
for a scab to form, and for the cut to heal. Let me repeat that the amount
of time it takes for a scab to form, and for a cut to heal, can vary from
person to person.
If a cut has a scab on it, it is no longer considered a fresh open cut, and
is not a direct access to the bloodstream. But the larger the cut, and the
fresher the cut, the greater the risk there would be if blood, semen, etc.
were to get directly into that open cut. But once the cut develops a scab,
the scab that develops acts as a barrier to prevent HIV from entering the
Cuts and abrasions are much more likely to occur on mucous membranes than
regular skin. Mucous membranes are found on the head of the penis, vagina,
rectum, eyes, nose, and mouth. Mucous membranes are much thinner than the
skin found on your hands and other parts of your body. Therefore, mucous
membranes are much more likely to have microscopic cuts and abrasions. If
you were to get blood, semen, or vaginal secretions directly in a fresh open
cut on your hands, yes, there is a possibility of infection. But there would
be an even greater possibility of infection if blood, semen or vaginal
secretions were to get onto a mucous membrane like the mouth or the head of
the penis. So don't panic if you get blood, semen, or vaginal secretions on
your hands. The skin on your hands is much thicker than the linings made of
mucous membranes. The thicker the skin, the less the chance for abrasions
and cuts. I hope this made things a bit clearer.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).