[Question #3712] RISK?

33 months ago
Hi. I'm a 25y/o F, I was at the mall and I went to buy myself a dress. While I was trying it on, the helper came in and was fixing it for me. While doing so, her hand hit my bare butt and some parts of my underwear, including the front ( area over the clitoris and vagina ). I'm scared that her hands might have not been clean or with cuts, putting me at risk for HIV/Hepatitis. What are the chances of me getting the infection (HIV/Hepatitis) assuming she had infected fluid on her hands? Do I need to get tested??
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
33 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be happy to provide some information.  Your questions are similar to other questions which we receive with some regularity on our Forum.  Viral infections like HIV and hepatitis certainly are sexually transmitted and it is appropriate to take steps to avoid infection however they are also much hard to acquire than generally believed.  To address this I will provide a bit more information than you have asked for but hopefully you will find it helpful.

HIV and hepatitis B and C are transmitted between adults in only two ways, the direct, penetrative sexual contact and through injection of infected material deep into tissue where it can reach the blood stream.  Even in this situations most direct sexual exposures do not lead to infection; the estimated, average likelihood of acquiring HIV following a single vaginal/penile intercourse episode is 1 infection for every 1000-2000 acts of intercourse and while hepatitis B is more infectious than HIV, the risk of sexual acquisition during penile/vaginal intercourse is still less than 1 infection in 100 acts of intercourse (less than 1%).  When one also considers that most people do not have either infection, you can see that the risk is small.

With respect to your question the risk is much, much lower.  Neither HIV nor hepatitis is transmitted through touching, even if the touching involves contact with an open wound on one or both persons.  Further these infections are never transmitted through clothing, even if that clothing is wet.  Thus, even if the salesperson had HIV or hepatitis B (unlikely), none of the sorts of contact you describe would put you and any risk for infection.  There is no need for concern and no need for testing.  I hope that this information is helpful to you.  EWH 
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