[Question #3657] HIV from handshake (cuticle present)

33 months ago
Hi there! Yesterday I had a handshake with an old friend of mine. Then we stopped to talk. I noticed that he had several inflammations over his skin, very similar to those from lupus. I've had a lot of handshakes with him during my life, and none of them made me feel uncomfortable with that. So, long story short, it happens that minutes before the meeting, I had a hangnail, from biting my nails. It didn't bleed, but when pressed against a paper, I could see some red points or sttains.  My question, is it possible that may some blood (or other fluid) have fallen from his inflammation skin during the handshake, and infected myself through the hangnail. The hangnail was on the other side of the palm of the hand (and was kind of under the nail) , so I know it didn't have a direct contact with his skin. I may also be say that I don't record of seeing any bloody or feeling any fluid over my hands, during the meeting. I am at risk!? Thank you so much!! 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
33 months ago
Welcome to the Forum. I'll be glad to comment.  You don't say that he was so I presume you do not know that your friend has HIV, making it unlikely that he does.  Even if he did however, the event you describe was no risk for HIV or other blood borne infections.  No one has ever been infected in this way and you are not going to be the 1rst.  HIV is spread only through DIRECT sexual contact or injection of infected material deep into tissue. It is not spread through touching persons or surfaces which have been touched by or may have secretions from an infected person on them.  This is true even if the person you met had open sores on their hands or if you had open sores which came into contact with there  open sores.  Still no risk.

There is no need for concern and certainly no need for testing of any sort related to the events you describe above.  Please don't worry.  EWH
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33 months ago
My friend is the typical family man. Heterosexual,  doesn't drink and doesn't use drugs (at least I don't record of it). He is married and has a 8 month year pretty boy. I guess my OCD is trying to get the best of me. Thanks for the fast reply, Doc!! 
33 months ago
I didn't see any trace of blood. I guess if there were some I would have notice. But let's suppose there was a little bit of blood. Still no risk? Thank you
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
33 months ago
With or without blood, the encounter you describe was a no risk event.  EWH---
33 months ago
Thank you, Doctor. I'm a big fan of your work with Dr. Handsfield, since the Medhelp Forum. You're the most reliable source nowadays in hiv/std matters. Thanks again!