[Question #1023] confirm

51 months ago
Sir, I recently read in websites that to get hiv from environment surface we need to have access to massive amounts of blood for prolonged period of time.do you agree with I?I am posting that here.


transmission from inanimate object at work
Feb 23, 2014

My co worker who is HIV positive had a few minor nicks/cuts from doing demolition work in the bathroom. He had cuts on his palm from picking up broken ceramic tiles. I went in to help him and as soon as I did, I had a nick on my left palm. He then showed me that he had cuts too. He was not bleeding much. I can only see blood on his cuts (red lines of blood) ..but it was not droplets. My question is this: If his blood had contact with some tiles (he smeared his blood on), and 30 seconds later I went along and cut myself with the same contaminated tile...am I at risk for HIV? My cut is not very deep but it was still bloody. Its like a paper cut multiply by 2 deep, I'm paranoid and having anxiety issues. Please answer and thanks in advance.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi No, you can not get HIV from touching an inanimate object. Transmission of HIV from a contaminated surface would require massive exposure to blood or other infected liquid for a prolonged period of time (for example: a blood soaked shirt of a health care worker that remained while she performed CPR).
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
51 months ago
Welcome to our forum. Thanks for your question.

You have misinterpreted the reply on thebody.com. Nobody has ever once been know to acquire HIV from an environmental exposure. The reply describes the circumstances in which such transmission in theory could occur, but the whole point of her reply is that there is NO risk for any practical purposes.

As for your question, it includes a worst case scenario you have obviously designed in order maximize the chance we will confirm your fears. Could a person catch HIV if an exposure occurred exactly as you described? I suppose it is possible, if the bleeding person had untreated HIV. But since nobody has caught HIV from contact with blood in the environment, it is obvious that the chance is microscopically small. The way to avoid HIV is to not have unsafe sex with new or potentially infected partners and not share drug injection equipment with other people. That's all.

My final comment is that you have put your finger on the real problem here with your statement "I'm paranoid and having anxiety issues." This is purely a mental health problem. If such fears continue, professional counseling is something for you to consider. I suggest it from compassion, not criticism.

I hope these comments have helped. Best wishes--  HHH, MD