Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

HIV and AIDS

HIV Transmission After Blood Exposure To NonIntact Skin

07/21/2005

Question:

I`m concerned about a few instances involving a gay man who I just found out is HIV positive (also herpes and previously gonorrhea). He was masturbating immediatly before I entered the room. I suspect semen could have easily been on his hands, as well as where I was sitting and touching. Our hands were in slight contact, directly and passing items to eachother, which went in both of our mouths. Also, I had several lacerations on my hands, as I think we both did on our mouths. I normally frequently rub my eyes, I probably was then. Several similar events. At least one occuring during his herpes outbreak. Now, maybe 1-3 weeks later, I have a minor but expanding rash, on face, arm, hand. Itchiness, bumps (I`m thinking they are similar to flea bites, only larger). Possibly other minut symptoms. Exposure occuring during a very weak point in my health (not eating well, hardly at all, severe lack of sleep, stress.) Am I at risk? If so, how much?

Answer:

HIV transmission after blood exposure to nonintact skin has been documented, but this has been sufficiently rare that the average risk for transmission by this route has not been precisely quantified. HIV transmission from semen exposure to nonintact skin is possible, and I would estimate that, like HIV transmission from blood exposure to nonintact skin, it would be less than the risk for mucous membrane exposures (that is, after a mucous membrane exposure, approximately 0.09%, which is less than one infection occurring after 1,000 exposures). Other bloodborne pathogens, such as Hepatitis B and C, can be transmitted through semen exposure also. You should go see a doctor, describe your concerns, have your rash examined, and consider testing. Although the risk seems very low, it sounds as if you would feel better if you knew for certain.

For more information:

Go to the HIV and AIDS health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Lisa A Haglund, MD Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati