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HIV via the ear
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HIV via the ear

I recently hugged a person that was HIV positive.  As I hugged him, I felt a liquid enter my ear.  I don't know if it was blood, or sweat, or something else.  I am freaking out!!!  After about 5-10min, I took a tissue and wiped my ear.  When I looked at the tissue, I saw mostly ear wax and pin point size red dot.  I then washed my ear with soap and water.  My question is, if it was blood that got into my ear, could I contract HIV?  I know I may be over reacting, but I haven't been able to sleep since this incident.  It happened about a week ago.  Please help.
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Responding only to the title you chose for your question, before reading anything else:  The ear is lined with skin, not mucous membranes -- i.e., much more like your hand or arm, not like the inside of the genital tract or rectum.  Getting HIV secretions in the ear is not likely to result in HIV transmission, and to my knowledge this has never happened once in the quarter century of the world wide HIV/AIDS epidemic.  I doubt you will be the first.

Now I have read the question.  You weren't at risk.  I suppose theoretically if you had a cut in the ear, and if blood dripped into your ear.  But not a droplet of saliva or other secretions.  Look at it this way:  people who live in the same house as perosns with HIV (and are not sex or needle-sharing partners), even for years and years, never get HIV, even if they share bathrooms, showers, eating untensils, etc, and even if they love, hug, and cuddle the infected person.  For example, parents never catch HIV from their infected children, even with diaper changing etc.

No risk.  And no, you don't need testing.

Regards--  HHH, MD
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
In addition to my above question, if I had a laceration or cut in my ear, would that lead to HIV contraction?
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239123_tn?1267651214
See above.
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What do you mean by "theoretically if you had a cut in your ear, and if blood drippe into your ear?"  If both of the above are true, are you saying that I DO or DO NOT stand a risk of contracting HIV?  
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239123_tn?1267651214
Good grief. I don't ask much of the people who seek information on this forum. But I do request that they read my responses and at least try to understand them.

IF you had a cut in the ear, and IF someone dripped HIV infected blood into the ear, there MIGHT be a small risk of transmission.  Neither of those things happened.  Therefore, there was no risk.  

Please re-read my orginal response.  Don't most any more irrelevant follow-up comments or I will delete the entire thread without further comment.
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University of Washington
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