I work I'm a job where I deal with homeless people.
A while ago a guy came in and asked me to look for a number on his phone as he had his glasses stolen so couldnt read it himself. The phone was old and dirty. I noticed he had red swollen hands and an oldish looking cut on a knuckle. I held his phone got the number then gave it back. The following day I began to stress out as I knew that this guy is a heroine user. Also at this time of year I have dry skin on my face which causes bits of skin to become itchy and sometimes without thinking about it I scratch the parts of healing skin which on previous occasions has caused slight bleeding it's a kind of excema. This is embarrassing for me in my job so I try not to scratch it and I also apply a cream which helps.
My question if I may is should there have been blood on the phone and then I scratched the skin after touching it would this have facilitated HIV transmission? It's taken a lot of courage to come on here and ask this but I feel your professional advice would really help. To assist your assessment I didn't notice any blood on the phone or on my hands but I wasn't really looking and the phone was black so wouldn't necessarily have shown up.
Welcome to the forum. The bottom line is good news: you definitely are not at any risk of HIV or any other blood-borne infection from this sort of contact.
In the 40 years of the known worldwide HIV pandemic, not one case has ever been known to be acquired by the sort of contact you describe here. For example, people living in the same households as HIV infected persons (who are not sex or needle-sharing partners) never get infected despite years of sharing toilets, kitchens, towels, eating utensils, etc.
And by the way, the frequency of HIV is no higher in homeless persons than in the general population. If a homeless person is a gay man with multiple partners, a commercial sex worker, or an injection drug user, those factors would put them at risk -- but being homeless, in itself, is not a risk marker for HIV.
So my advice is to use common-sense hygiene (hand washing, an alcohol based disinfectant gel) to avoid colds, influenza, etc. But don't worry at all about HIV or blood-borne infections from handling phones, doorknobs, etc in your place of work.
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