[Question #4002] HIV

31 months ago
I went to use a busy public restroom and since there was urine on toilet seat  I took some toilet paper to wipe it off.   I went to a different spot that I had thought was also urine but upon wiping it I think it could have been blood.   3 days before I picked up a piece of small plastic from floor that gave the back  tip of my index finger a cut that bled for about 1 minute.  It did not bleed since then but I did not use a bandage since injury Now I am worried that if some blood that was on toilet seat got through toilet paper it could have gone trough this healing cut.  I would like to know if a 3 day cut is still considered open wound so that if something leaked thru tissue it could have entered bloodstream etc.   I did not see a scar so I do not know if scar forms on palm side fingers.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question. 

You apparently have some misunderstandings about HIV transmission and risks. HIV is simply never transmitted by the sorts of events you describe. It doesn't matter if the fluid was blood rather than urine. It also doesn't matter if you have healing cuts etc on your hands or other places that might be exposed. HIV is just not transmitted though a contaminated environment. The only risks you need to worry about are sexual exposure and, if you use drugs by injection, shared needles or other injection equipment. Don't worry about the biological reasons:  it may seem reasonable that a wound exposed to HIV infected blood or other body fluids in toilets or elsewhere in the environment might be risky. But such transmission simply do not occur, at least not with enough frequency for anybody to know about.

Are you germophobic, i.e. concerned about infections in general, perhaps over-concerned about health risks from contact with other people or unclean settings? If so and it's severe, you might consider counseling.

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

HHH, MD

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