Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

HIV from licking blood

Dear Doctors,
I am a 37 yo happily married male with no sexual contacts apart from my wife. We recently moved from Europe to Johannesburg, South Africa and were having furniture delivered to our new house yesterday. After the local delivery men left I decided I didn’t like the position of one of the tables so I moved it. Then I noticed what I think may be blood on my finger. It was dark brown/red color and semi dried – so it made a streak on my finger rather than made it wet with blood). I assumed I had cut my self and instinctively licked my finger. Then I realized that I had not cut myself and that the blood had come from the underside of the table and was probably from the delivery men who were not wearing gloves – I looked under the table and saw additional small stain which was mostly dry. I didn’t make a swallowing action when I licked my finger but didn’t wash my mouth out immediately either – only after 10 minutes or so. Also, I have no oral hygiene issues that I know of.

I am wondering what is the HIV or Hep C transmission risk from this event assuming it was indeed blood?

I am aware of the small chances of HIV transmission from cunnilingus for example…is this more or less risky?

Given that the blood was semi dry and outside the body for a few minutes I assume any HIV or Hep C virus would be dead already?

Given the high rates of HIV among the black population in South Africa would you recommend HIV testing in this instance?

Thanks in advance.
3 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
300980 tn?1194929400
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome to our Forum.   Please remember to start with that you do not know if the substance you found on your hand was blood and if it was, whether it was from someone who have either hepatitis C or HIV.   I'm pleased to assure you that even if what you licking form your finger was blood, there is no risk for acquisition of HIV or for hepatitis C. Both viruses live within the body and on exposure to the environment (air/drying/lower temperatures) they begin to die.  As they begin to die, even before they are dead (I say this because some clients worry about  "how long it takes the virus to die" and this is a non-issue), the viruses are non-infectious. further, infection with these viruses does not occur with ingestion of the virus.  There are no cases of HIV or hepatitis C in which ingestion of the virus has led to infection.  I urge you not to worry. there is no need for concern and no need for testing.  EWH
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for this assessment and reassurance doctor. I have always been very cautious healthwise and a bit of a worrier. I will put this behind me now and try and start enjoying my new life here!

Thanks again.
Helpful - 0
300980 tn?1194929400
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I'm pleased I could help.  EWH
Helpful - 0

You are reading content posted in the HIV - Prevention Forum

Popular Resources
Condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV and STDs.
PrEP is used by people with high risk to prevent HIV infection.
Can I get HIV from surfaces, like toilet seats?
Can you get HIV from casual contact, like hugging?
Frequency of HIV testing depends on your risk.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may help prevent HIV infection.