Feb 28, 2000
I AM A 1ST RESPONDER IN TRAINING, AND LETS SAY I COME UPON SOMEONE WHO HAS HIV AND IS BLEEDING PROFUSELY(SP). HOW LONG DOES THE HIV VIRUS ACTUALLY LAST OUTSIDE OF THE BODY WHEN A PERSON IS BLEEDING: I KNOW HOW YOU CAN AND CANNOT GET IT, BUT A FELLOW WORKER THINKS THAT IT CAN LAST FOR HOURS IN THE BLOOD AND THAT IT WOULD BE DANGEROUS TO HELP THAT PERSON IF YOU DID NOT KNOW, IS THAT NOT WHAT BSI IS FOR. AND I THINK IT ONLY LAST A MATTER OF SECONDS OUTSIDE THE BODY BECAUSE THAT IS NOT THE ENVIRONMENT THAT IT LIVES IN.
Response from Dr. Holodniy
The answer to the question is complicated. HIV can live in liquid blood for some hours, as long as it is still liquid. If it is dried or heated, the virus dies. You should always wear gloves and any other personal protective equipment that is required for the situation. This requirement is for all patients. You will not usually know who is HIV infected, or hepatitis B or C virus infected.
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