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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
           
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HIV or HCV?
Oct 9, 2004

How long can the HIV or HCV virus live outside the body? If one had a little scrape on the skin that was not bleeding and was not oozing anything.... what would the risk of transmission be if touched blood on a environmental surface? The scrape may have been a paper cut that just damaged the top layer of skin?? Would the wound have to be VERY FRESH to make transmission a risk? Do HIV and HCV start do die immediately outside of the body? I have read in previous questions that even HCV dies pretty quick.... is this so? I need reassurance!! Thank you.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Transmission of hepatitis C is related to either: 1. intravenous drug use 2. blood transfusions prior to 1992. The blood supply is extremely safe now. 3. occasionally through sexual exposure but this is uncommon 4. dialysis 5. needlestick exposures

I am not aware of any information which states exactly how long HCV is viable in the environment. The sharing of razors and toothbrushes in household contacts with HCV patients is not recommnended due to concerns about the presence of blood. I would not have any concerns about transmission through a paper cut. Dr. McGovern



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