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defining casual contact
May 13, 2002

please, tell me if the term "casual contact" includes individuals who come across inflected fluids, such as blood on a door handle or elevator button; if these indivduals had an open wound or got the infected fluid into their mouth, would that still be considered casual contact, since they are not coming into direct contact with the fluid, but rather indirectly? certainly it seems that in 20 years of a disease, someone would have been involved in a scenario such as this and become infected this way. your thoughts would be helpful. thank you.

Response from Mr. Kull

The most important thing to remember about HIV transmission is that HIV is known to be transmitted through very specific means:

1) sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with someone infected with HIV

2) Sharing needles and syringes with someone who has HIV

3) Mother-to-infant: during birth or through breast feeding

Even if you came into contact with blood on a door handle, it is very unlikely that you would become infected with HIV because:

1) The blood would have to come into contact with mucous membranes or bloodstream

AND

2) The transmission would have to occur relatively quick

See HIV and its Transmission for more information.

RMK



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