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HIV and AIDS

Can HIV Transmit From A Nail Scratch?

04/18/2005

Question:

Sorry to bother you.  In my consolation and test work, I encountered a few policemen who were hurt by an HIV-infected person. Also, in the world-famous Wenlou "AIDS" village in Henan province in China, more than one half villagers caught HIV through selling blood. Because of poverty, many HIV-infected villagers commit robbing and racketeering, making use of the people`s fear of HIV. Some villagers even assault policemen when confronting them. So far more than one hundred policemen in Wenlou village have been hurt by assaultive HIV-infected villagers by nail scratch and biting. Almost all policemen hurt by HIV-infected person resorted to medical evaluation and asked for postexposure Chemoprophylaxis. Here I want to ask what level of the risk is, and whether it is warranted when the policemen only hurt by nail scratching by HIV-infected person. Your response based on scientific argument is much appreciated. Thank you and best regards.

Answer:

Current CDC guidelines do not support HIV postexposure prophylaxis for the situation you describe.

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Response by:

Amy Beth Kressel, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati