Q. Is it possible to get a bloodborne disease like HIV through sharing blood-stained towels?

Answered by
Dr. N Ashok Viswanath
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 23, 2021

Hello doctor,

I was drying my hands with a towel in a neighbor's house, and I noticed some bloodstains on the towel. My neighbor had a razor wound from shaving his face. I did not have any wounds in my hands, and also I rewashed my hands for approximately 5 to 10 seconds with soap after touching the stained towel. I do not know if I should have washed it longer than 5 to 10 seconds. Is it possible for me to get a bloodborne disease like HIV through this? Especially If I have touched my lips or eyes with my hands after handling the towel.




Welcome to

I understand your query.

There is no need to worry if you do not have any open fresh wounds on your skin. Most blood-borne viruses like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are enveloped viruses that are rapidly destroyed by soap. Also, these viruses do not survive outside the human body. Even if it survives, the infectivity is very low. These blood-borne viruses are not as easy to get transmitted from one person to another. Your oral cavity and eyes contain antimicrobial substances like lysozyme and immunoglobulins which has antimicrobial property.

If you have not got your Hepatitis B vaccination, kindly get the three doses of vaccination to avoid Hepatitis B infection and fear of acquiring it in the future.

I hope my answer clarifies your doubt.

Take care.

Thank you doctor,

I got all my hepatitis B vaccine when I was a child and my mother told me that I have been tested for the immune response of the vaccine and everything was good. Last year, I was diagnosed with celiac disease.



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