[Question #6581] HIV Risk From Burn on Wrist

14 months ago
Hello, I recently spent a night at a regular bar in Hong Kong. During the course of the night, I managed to burn my wrist, about a quarter sized. This was a typical bar serving drinks and food, so nothing else of a sexual nature happened there, or afterwards (my cousin was with me, we went back to our hotel room afterwards in preparation for his brother's wedding the next day). In the bar though, we were hanging out with a number of European ladies that afterwards offered to spend the night in our hotel room with us for sexual activity in exchange for money. We declined and stumbled our way back, with the help of a friendly cab driver.  And that was the end of the night.
When I saw the burn the next day though, I got a little worried.  The burned skin was peeling away (may have started night before) and I saw some red, bloody wet dots.  The only contact between me and any of the ladies would have been some regular dancing to music, a light close mouthed kiss on my cheek at the end of the night when we left, and perhaps accidentally taking a sip of one of their drinks as we were all sitting at a table together. Or, maybe incidental contact with their hands and my burn after they returned from the washroom, perhaps without washing their hands? I'd like to know if I am any realistic risk at all and get tested for HIV, or if I should just forget this and move on with my life with my wife and have sex with her. 
The only other incident that I can possible think of that could have the potential to infect me with HIV would be receiving lapdances from nude ladies while I was fully clothed (different night a long time ago). But I have read the other threads about potentially getting vaginal fluids from a dance on a small cut on my hands or cracked skin on my lips, or acne, and I think I am comfortable with the answers you doctor's provided to understand that that incident wouldn't be risky, right? Thanks!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
14 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

You might have been doing too much reading about theoretical routes of HIV transmission, or maybe over-interpreting statements about "blood contact", "open wounds", etc. It's important to distinguish theoretical risks, which sometimes are included in prevention advice, and real world risks that acually matter. Nobody in the world has ever been known to have acquired HIV from the sorts of events you describe. All humans have open wounds or recent cuts from time to time, be they superficial burns, knee scrapes, shaving cuts, and so on. And we all have daily contact with other humans that, in theory, could result in small amounts of their blood, saliva, or other body fluids contacting our eyes, mouth, those superficial cuts, etc. And yet not one case of HIV from such events. Similarly, you can't get HIV (or any other infection) from a lapdance, especially with no direct genital contact, or through clothing. So these events were tnirely without risk and you should not be tested.

Botom line:  Don't have sex (meaning penis inside vagina or rectum) with new or potentially infected partners; if you do, use a condom; and never share drug injection equipment with anyone else. Do these things and you will never get HIV.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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