HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Scratched by a junkie

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meowmix:
Hi all I've just had a quick question concerning being scratched by a possible HIV + person.  I live in a rather shady part of town where there are quite a few of homeless people.  The other night I was walking to the corner store and passed a group of homeless people.  One of them jumped up and grabbed my arm and dug his nails rather deeply into my skin as he wanted to get my attention to ask for some money.  I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt me but it freaked me out.  I gave him some money and went on my way.  On my way back home I noticed the same group of people and saw what looked like a syringe diabetics use for their insulin on the floor and my mind started racing as to wheter I could be in trouble.  When I got home I had 5 tiny cuts from where the man grabbed me.  Am I being paranoid thinking I could have possibly contracted HIV this way?  Lots of what ifs pop into mind like... what if he was scratching a bug bite before he grabbed me. etc.  So to sum up my question... Can a scratch which breaks the skin by a junkie who could possibly be HIV + transmit HIV to me.

Ann:
Meow,

There is absolutely no way that you would become infected with hiv from a scratch.

You seem to have some possibly dangerous preconceptions about who has hiv and who doesn't. We're not all down and out you know. We are everywhere in all segments of society.

The risk of hiv transmission comes from unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, as hiv is primarily transmitted INSIDE the human body. Please read through the Welcome Thread and follow the Transmission lesson link for further transmission information.

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL STIs together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Use condoms for intercourse and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple.

Ann

meowmix:
Many thanks for the quick reply Ann.  BTW I didn't mean to imply all homeless people have HIV.  It was just the syringe on the floor that got me worried since sharing needles is a way to contract HIV.  But thank you once again for the peace of mind.

Ann:
Meow,

I was more worried about the possibility that you might think only people in the situation you described needed to be thought of as hiv positive. Put it this way, if some suit in the business section of town accidently scratched you and you saw a syringe lying on the ground nearby, would you have worried then?

The point I want to make is that hiv is mainly transmitted sexually and when it comes to sex, you need to assume anyone you have intercourse with is hiv positive and protect yourself accordingly. Use condoms until you're in a relationship and have tested together. It doesn't matter what social group a person comes from or how healthy they look, or even what they tell you about their health. Use condoms until you're certain.

Ann

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