[Question #5862] Blood exposure HIV

18 months ago
Hello doctors, 
Thanks a lot for the great service. Two days ago, as i was walking in my home, i noticed some dried blood on my finger. Im afraid that using my finger o scratched my eye or nose when the blood was fairly wet. 
Here are my questions: 
1)i heard on multiple sites that blood can’t come into my eyes because of the reflex of the eye, is that true? I kept scratching my eyes now and noticed that whats on my finger does not come into my eyes because my eye os closed. Do you think that makes my risk zero? 

2) im afraid that i also scratched my nose with the finger that has the blood, would that put me at any risk for HIV? If there was bleeding, it wasnt deep. Would there be any risk doctor? Even if i scratched it and then inhaled it?

Many thanks doctors
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be glad to answer your question.  I note that you do not mention where the blood you contacted might have come from.  Irrespective however, blood transferred from person to person on a contaminated finger, including transfer to the eye or in the course of picking the nose has never been shown to lead to infection.  The HIV becomes non-infectious almost immediately following exposure to the air and temperatures lower than body temperature.  

I see no reason for concern and no reason for testing related to the possible events you describe.  EWH
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18 months ago
Thanks for the information doctor. 
Three questions for future refrence: 
1) is it true that the fingers cant carry wnough amounts of blood of hiv to transmit hiv? 
2) can i be certain that the blink reflex, if some body scratched his eye, will be suffocient to stop transmission? 
3)does the nose resist hiv? Meaning can anyone get hiv from their nose if blood or something got into them?? Or does the nose resost hiv? I want to be sure so that in the future i wont be afraid of scratching my nose
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
Your questions have to do with theoretical exposures for which there are no specific studies to answer your questions.  I will try to provide answers regarding what is known:

HIV is transmitted only through DIRECT sexual contact or injection of infected material deep into tissue.  There is no evidence that HIV has ever been transmitted from one person to another on fingers or hands.  This is true for inoculation of the eyes and nose.  thus, there is no risk from scratching your nose or rubbing your eye after interacting with someone who has HIV.

Questions related to eye exposure to HIV generally relate to persons who are worried that they have been exposures to aerosolized blood and in these instances the blink reflex quickly removes any foreign material, protecting the eye.

Please don't worry about potneital exposures related to rubbing your eye or picking your nose.  EWH
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18 months ago
Thanks for the response doctor: I’m looking for further clarification please:
1)what amounts of blood can or can’t transmit hiv when it comes to the fingers, in other words, can the tip of the finger carry enough hiv bacteria to allow for transmission through the eye or the nose?
2) isn’t the nose completely resistant to HIV? If yes, then why is it still a route for HIV transmission? And, do sores on the nose affect hiv transmission? 
3) does a lot of blood splashed into the eye necessitate transmission?
18 months ago
And if you may, could you please tell me why it’s unlikely that job will be transmitted through the eye or the nose? Many thanks!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
I'm perplexed at these repetitive questions.  since this is my third and therefore, as per Forum guidelines, final reply, I will try again.  As I said above- "Your questions have to do with theoretical exposures for which there are no specific studies to answer your questions."  Repeating the questions will not make the studies or data magically appear and I will not make up studies because you are anxious about something that no specialist worries about and has never been observed.  

1.  what amounts of blood can or can’t transmit hiv when it comes to the fingers, in other words, can the tip of the finger carry enough hiv bacteria to allow for transmission through the eye or the nose?
Reply.  HIV is a virus, not a bacteria.  Although these sorts of exposures have no doubt occurred millions of times in the past, there has NEVER been a case of HIV transmitted on someone's fingers- not fingers covered with blood, not fingers covered with genital secretions.   No one has EVER been found to have acquired HIV through an eye exposure (such as rubbing the eye) or insertion of a contaminated finger into the nose.  Not ever.  If it were a possibility, I am confident that such an occurrence would have been described.

 2) isn’t the nose completely resistant to HIV? If yes, then why is it still a route for HIV transmission? And, do sores on the nose affect hiv transmission?
Reply.  Once again, NO ONE has EVER been shown to have been infected with HIV through insertion of a contaminated finger into the nose.  There are a very few cases in which HIV appears to have been acquired because a blood contaminated straw used for ingestion (snorting) of cocaine.  This is very different from insertion of a finger contaminated with blood or secretions into the nose.  

3) does a lot of blood splashed into the eye necessitate transmission?
As I said, there has NEVER been a case proven to be acquired in this way.

Finally, as I said you are asking about situations which have never been observed despite careful study for over 30 years the HIV epidemic.  These are not things to worry about.

As I also mentioned, we provide up to three responses to each client's questions.  This is my 3rd and therefore final response.   I hope the information I have provided is helpful to you.  There will be no further responses and the thread will be closed shortly.  Please don't worry.  EWH
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