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 Knowledge Base Index :   HIV Risks

HIV and nail scratching and biting


Sorry to bother you. I'm a postgraduate student in service and working as a lab technician in CDC in Anhui Province.

In my consolation and test work, I encounter a few policemen who were hurt by HIV-infected person. Also, in the world-famous Wenlou "AIDS" village in Henan province in China, more than one half of the villagers caught HIV through selling blood. Because of poverty, many HIV-infected villagers commit robbing and racketeering, making use of the people's fear of HIV. Some villagers even assault policemen when confronting them. So far more than one hundred policemen in Wenlou village have been hurt by assaultive HIV-infected villagers by nail scratch and biting. Almost all policemen hurt by HIV-infected person resorted to medical evaluation and asked for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

Here I want to ask what level of the risk is, and whether it is warranted when the policemen are only hurt by nail scratching by an HIV-infected person.

Your response based on scientific argument is much appreciated.


The possibility of getting HIV through saliva is very low. HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some people living with HIV. It is important to understand that finding a small amount of HIV in a body fluid does not necessarily mean that HIV can be transmitted by that body fluid. HIV has not been recovered from the sweat of HIV-infected persons. Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.

Scratching of people through nails is also not going to spread HIV unless blood passes between the infected person and the person being scratched. But we cannot offer formal guidance on the issue of interaction between uniformed forces and people living with HIV in such circumstances.

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Date Created June 06, 2006
Author Admin
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