[Question #3582] Blood on money

34 months ago
Hi doctors, 

So here’s my situation. 

 I am a cashier and today I had an older white male, about lates 50s early 60s counted his cash and handed it to me. After I handled the cash I realized that his hand was bleeding and he got blood on the money. I don’t know if any blood got on my hands, but I pick my cuticles on both hands, nasty habit I know! 

I did see a little red spot on one of my fingers, but I don’t have any open bleeding cuts or anything like that, some of my fingers are scabbed around the circles where I pick. I did notice a teeny tiny red dot on one of my fingers, but I am wearing pink lipstick today so that might what was on my finger. 

Is there any real risk from this? My common sense tells me that I’m fine, but of course there is a nagging voice in the back of my head saying what if ?

I know this isn’t pertaining to getting HIV sexually so I hope you’re still able to answer this. 

Thank you for your service, I just discovered this from googling and glad I found this resource before I got any further on the internet! 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
34 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question. We're happy to deal with concerns about all modes of HIV transmission, not just sexual. I too am glad you found this site before you devled too deeply into the web and took the risk of exposure to non-scientific or overtly inflammatory advice. You can find plenty of resources that might reinforce your fears -- but they simply aren't justified by the science.

In other words, you really needn't be worried. Many people have over-interpreted comments they've heard about HIV being a blood borne infection, and certainly there is a healthier attitude toward blood exposure than in past years. However, that doesn't mean there is risk from simply getting some blood on the skin. In fact, it is probable that in the 40 years of the known worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic (which actually was going on for several years before that), with millions of infected people interacting with other people, not a single person has ever caught HIV from the sorts of events you describe. Blood exposures must be quite substantial, such as injection of infected blood directly into a vein, for a new HIV infection to take hold. Also, it is statistically unlikely your customer had HIV. Further, HIV rarely if ever enters such minor, superficial cuts or nicks of the kinds you're concerned about.

So I don't recommend testing and would urge you to simply put this event behind you, without worry. All is well!

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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34 months ago
Thanks for the thorough response! I think this is something I can put behind me especially since you clarified for me. 

Thanks for all you do! 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
34 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped. I'll leave the thread open a couple more days in case other questions about it come to mind.

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