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Blood on food
Dec 28, 2001

Hi Ryan,

One occasion while my colleague was cutting up a cake, he accidentally cut his finger. Blood was then spilled to the cake. I always have bleeding gum problem and also had ulcer just beneath the tongue on that day. I am very worried that I may have eaten a piece of the cake that has blood on it. Then there is this phobia about AIDS passing on to me through the bleeding gum or ulcer contact. What is my risk level? Please help. Thanks.

Response from Mr. Kull

Ulcer or not, there is no evidence that people get infected through eating food that was handled or prepared by an HIV infected person. There are two main reasons for this:

1) HIV is only known to be transmitted in three ways: sexual transmission, blood-to-blood contact (injection needles and health care settings), and from mother to infant. Other routes of transmission are theoretical only. See "Can I get HIV from casual contact?" (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/faq/faq31.htm).

2) HIV does not survive long enough in the environment to pose a real risk through contact of this sort. Scientists found that drying fluids containing very high concentrations of HIV(concentrations that are not normally encountered in day-to-day life) reduced the number of infectious virus by 90% to 99%. It is safe to say, based on these laboratory studies, that HIV would become uninfectious realitively quickly when exposed to the environment, making transmission through indirect contact with another person's fluids remote. See "Survival of HIV in the Environment" for more information (http://thebody.com/cdc/survival.html).

RMK



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