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Hi. I work as a brick layer and i have almost always cuts and sores on my hands and fingers. They are about 3-5 milimeters. If i touch a surface (a door, toilet, a cart) with possible blood on it (not visible for the eye) could i get infected with hiv and/or hepatitis because of the cuts and sores? They are not actively bleeding, but if i press the cut the blood starts to drip a little. Does it make a difference with the cuts and sores if there is a small visible amount of blood?

Hi there,

Thanks for your question. I would not worry about getting HIV or Hepatitis this way.These infections are not spread through surfaces or casual contact.

You cannot get HIV from touching contaminated surfaces, even if there are cuts on your hands. HIV dies within seconds after it is out of a human body, so there would be no virus left in the blood by the time you touched it.

Hepatitis C  can live a little bit longer outside the body, but it is still unlikely you could get Hepatitis C this way. It is not impossible - if there was enough blood and it entered into your open cut, it could transmit the virus. In practice, though, we are not seeing this happen very often. 

Hepatitis B is also spread by blood-to-blood contact, but there is a vaccine that can protect you from getting Hepatitis B. If you are not already vaccinated against Hepatitis B, ask for the vaccine through your doctor or public health unit.

In general, it's a good idea to keep cuts covered with bandaids or gloves until they are healed over (not bleeding), just to reduce risks of transmission. If you are concerned, you could get a blood test for Hepatitis C at your doctor or at an STI clinic.

Let us know if that helps answer your question or if you need more information,

Health Nurse

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This answer was posted on April 14, 2014

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Community comments

Si says:

Thank you very much for your answrer.
Is a 3-5 milimeter cut, which is not actively oozing blood, considered as a open cut?
I have been in i building in which i happen to know that there has been a bloody fight for about 14 days ago. If i touched 14 days old blood with the cuts, is that considered a risk for hepatitis?

Si says:

One more question.
Is the hiv virus dead if the blood is still wet but have been out of the body for about 3 hours?

Health Nurse says:

Hepatitis C can survive on environmental surfaces at room temperature for at least 16 hours but no longer than 4 days. We don’t see hepatitis C being passed with what you have described and the virus would not survive for 14 days. HIV dies quickly when it is out of the body, they generally say there is no risk if the blood is dry. Not sure how the blood would still be wet when out of the body for 3 hrs.

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