[Question #5721] Is this a potential for exposure?

19 months ago
Hello Doctors, 
I'm a healthy male, I was traveling on a flight from the US to India. At the airport, in India, I injured my pinky finger while taking my bag off the conveyer belt. It bled a little, I'm concerned if the surface had some infected blood on it from the labourers who transport the bags to and fro from the aircraft. If that has entered in through the injury, as it bled. Is this a risky event in terms of being at risk for contracting any infections? Do i need testing? 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
19 months ago
Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your confidence.  I'll be pleased to comment.  I'm sorry to hear of your injury but pleased to inform you that it is a no risk event for HIV, hepatitis or other blood borne viral infections.  These infections become non-transmissible immediately following contact with the environment and inanimate objects.  There are no proven instances in which either of these infections have been transmitted through this sort of injury.  Thus there is no reason for concern and no need for testing of any sort.  

I hope this information is helpful to you. EWH
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19 months ago
Thank you Dr. Hook for your response. I'm sorry to ask you the silly questions, but I'm actually trying to over come my OCD. 
I have read several threads here, and I feel greatly aware of the transmission risks in general. So thank you for that. I do understand that these are STIs and they need direct contact either via sex or entry into the bloodstream. I have always had safe sex and have never used IV drugs. But I do not know how should i consider having unprotected sex eventually when I plan to with my gf. If I get her tested, is it safe to go ahead? what if she is in her window period when i get her tested? 
Also, apart from sex , vertical transmission and iv drugs, are there any other means of contracting HIV? Just trying to understand the Do's and Dont's. i always sleep in clean sheets, use only clean toilets, never touch my genitals without washing my hands. but every time I get scraped or get cuts with any external surface in the vicinity, i become anxious. I also don't leave any wounds open, no matter how superficial. I would be grateful if you help me out by giving your opinion on this. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
19 months ago
Thanks for your confidence in our site but this is really the wrong place to come to deal with your OCD.  I urge you to seek professional help in moving to the point in which you can act on the facts that you obviously already know.  Brief answers to your rather general follow-up questions:

HIV is transmitted only through penetrative genital sex and injection of infected material directly deep into tissue.  There is no risk  in sitting on a soiled toilet, dirty sheets or other inanimate objects.  Similarly, touching a partner's genital with your hands or even getting their genital secretions on your hands are no risk events.

Finally if your partner and you have both been tested at the same time and have negative test results, there is realistically little chance that your partner is in the "window" period before tests become possible, particularly if they have not recently had sex with others

I hope these comments help.  Please seek professional care for your OCD.  EWH
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19 months ago
Thank you for you your response. Yes, I understand and hopefully i will leave this behind with therapy. I just wanted to know if there were any non-sexual ways of contracting HIV? And as the last follow up question, I would like to know if HIV is non-infective immediately upon exposure to air or it needs some contact time? and deep penetration into the tissue is only with needles or any kind of sharp object is considered a potential risk for infection to occur.

Thank you for everything.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
19 months ago
Other than through DIRECT needle stick-type injuries or other processes which introduce the virus into your blood stream, there is no way for you to acquire HIV.  As  I said in my original reply, "These infections become non-transmissible immediately following contact with the environment and inanimate objects.".  the virus become immediately non-infectious upon exposure to the environment.  

This is my 3rd and therefore final response to this thread which will be closed shortly without further responses.  Take care.  Please seek care for your OCD>  EWH
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