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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: AIDS

Question: HIV through hangnail wound.

 mbi270285 - Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:08 pm

Hi, I know this is probably stupid but I was fingering a woman last Saturday night and I had a hangnail on my finger from were I had been picking at it. The area was not bleeding, but of course did hurt if pressure was applied to it and it did burn a little from the contact of her fluids because it was still raw. So basically I am wondering is this a possible HIV concern or is the likely hood of it so remote that it is not worth a second thought. Thank you
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:39 am

User avatar Hi,
Exposure to a blood/body fluid borne pathogen is possible after:
- A skin injury such as a needlestick or cut with a sharp object (percuteneous exposure) and
- Contact with a mucous membrane(including exposure via sexual intercourse, especially if an ulcer is present or vaginal tissues are injured) or non-intact skin.

The risk of becoming infected from needlestick injuries is better defined than the risk of becoming infected from a mucous membrane exposure (mouth, vagina, or rectum).

When healthcare workers were followed after mucous membrane exposure to HIV, no cases of HIV were identified among those who had been exposed. However, no other explanation for HIV has been found in a few cases where mucous membrane exposure occurred in a healthcare work setting. This has led most experts to believe that the risk of acquiring HIV following a mucous membrane exposure is quite small, but the risk is not zero.

In a healthcare worker who sustains a needlestick injury with a needle containing blood infected with HBV the chances of aquiring HBV infections is 6 -30%. The risk of HCV and HIV in a similar setting is 1.8 & 0.3 percent, respectively. This implies that 3 people in 1000 who are stuck with a needle containing blood infected with HIV may go on to develop HIV infection.

The risk of aquiring HIV following mucous membrane contact is estimated to be about 0.09%.The risk is perhaps higher for repeated exposures.

Therefore, for a pathogen such as HIV(in a situation where there is no definite answer) i would tend to feel that the concern is worth much more than a second thought! Avoid a similar activity in the future if you happen to have a wound in your fingers!
Best wishes!
 mbi270285 - Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:54 am

So then you are saying I need to get tested?
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:32 am

User avatar Hello,The HIV Virus is a 'honest' virus in a sense that it spreads only via certain methods of transmission ie via sexual intercourse, through blood or blood products,maternal to foetal transmission and rarely occupational.
Exposure to unusually large volume of blood,prolonged contact,and exposure to blood in end stage disease are certain things to be borne in occupational types of spread including direct entry near a large blood vessel.Rare cases following human bites have been reported.
Also remember that for transmission to occur the secretion must contain the virus,and in sufficient quantity,and must enter the blood stream.In your case the current activity is not classified as risk behaviour and the chances of transmission are most unlikely and may represent a nil or extremely rare theoretical risk.All the same it would be a good practice like what Dr.Aroon kamath has suggested, to protect your self from any infection when there is local injury.
 mbi270285 - Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:52 am

So then testing is not recommended through this scenario?
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:43 pm

User avatar Hello,There is nothing wrong in getting to your doctor and discuss with him just to be on sure footing.Nothing more is needed.
Best wishes.

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