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can HIV survive in orange juice?
Jan 5, 2004

A friend recently told me of a story where he drank a glass of orange juice served by the cabin crew on an aeroplane. After a few sips he noticed a red, blood-like substance in his drink and assumed it was his own blood. He finished the drink and checked his mouth and hands for cuts. He had none, then started to think that maybe it came from the cabin crew member. The cabin crew who served him struggled opening the orange juice container and used a wine bottle opener to pick it open. My friend started to think that maybe the cabin crew member had cut himself in the process and hence the blood in the cup. If, the cabin crew member was a HIV carrier, what is the chance of it surviving in the cup of orange juice, then infecting my friend?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

That's a whole lotta "if's!" "If" the crew member were HIV-positive and "if" he cut himself on a wine bottle opener and "if" he bled into your friend's orange juice . . . . OK, even though all those "if's" are astronomically unlikely, let's assume they are all true. Your friend would still not be at any risk. HIV does not survive very long at all outside the body, let alone in a cup of O.J. both you and "your friend" can relax. Maybe pour yourselves a nice blood orange cordial to celebrate? Stay well. Cheers!

Dr. Bob



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