[Question #485] HIV transmission through fingering with recently bleeding cuts?

92 months ago
I've seen variations of this question but too much conflicting information and want to ask about the particular circumstances with my cuts.  I allowed my hands to get very dry this winter, with one finger developing a number of cuts on it.  At the time of the incident I'm worried about, the cuts would bleed a little if, for example, I washed my hands and I think they would ooze a bit of blood if I compressed my finger.  I fingered another guy's rectum, with the cut finger stupidly, probably having washed my hands shortly before, so I don't know that the cuts can be said to be sealed.  I've also read that there are no documented cases of getting HIV from fingering someone, but some sources seem to contradict that and even say that it's happened once through fisting, for example:  http://www.aidsmap.com/Fingering-and-fisting/page/1323538/        

If a guy who fisted his partner without covering the cuts can get HIV that way, where do you draw the line that says you can't get it by fingering someone?  Particularly with the way my cuts would bleed if washed or compressed, I'm worried about how recent they were.  I've also recently (I'm within the period for acute HIV symptoms) started to feel nauseous and with a slight sore throat and headache, and can't tell if my lymph nodes are swollen or not.  I took my temperature and it's 99.3, whereas I tend to be a little below 98.6.  Had a flu shot, take vitamins, don't get sick much.  I'd love to relax about this but I guess I don't see how those cuts couldn't qualify as "open" and if exposed to rectal fluids while in someone's body...wouldn't there be some risk in light of all this?  I think he would've been recently infected if he was positive, so his viral load would probably have been high.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
92 months ago

Are you the Larry who Dr. Handsfield and I had a number of interchanges with about two months ago?  Whether or not, you are over reacting.  You apparently do not know the HIV status of your partner (you should have asked him) and thus, statistically it is most likely that he was not infected.  Even if he was, the sorts of anal masturbation you describe is essentially a no risk event.  If you look at the web site you refer to you will see that is it written very carefully and suggests that if any risk from fingering or fisting it is minimal.  If you look at the reference for the POSSIBLE HIV acquisition which the authors feel MAY have been transmitted through fisting, you will note that the reference is a single case which was reported over 30 years ago.  Please understand that if this were a serious risk factor for HIV, given the millions of persons who have engaged in these activities with HIV infected partners over the course of this epidemic, don't you think there would be more reports.  Unfortunately however, some feel that in order to be completely correct they list theoretical mechanisms of HIV acquisition as "possible" in order to be "sure" they are right.  This is particularly common for many internet sources. 

The fact is that mutual masturbation, including anal masturbation ("fingering") is a no risk event.  This is the case irrespective of whether you have recent cuts, abrasions or nail problems.  There is no need for concern or HIV testing from the events you describe above.  My advice to you is to not worry, to move on and to stay off the internet.  EWH