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please help doc, from firefighter!!
Feb 22, 2007

hey doc, how goes it? doc i am the lousy firefighter who has not stopped asking questions,and who invited you to our station but still you wouldnt come. but here goes another one. doc i was removing a dead person from a collapsed building when i got in contact with his blood, the person has been dead for 2+ days. am i at any risk of getting HIV?? and another thing, is the fluid that fills the blisters on second degree burns infectious ?what if they are not fresh blisters?is the skin good enough for HIV stability for more than minutes or hours?? thanks a lot.

greetings doctor, i am an ambulance worker, and i had a recent blood exposure and i would like to know how much HIV risk i have. i was removing a dead body from a collapsed builing after 3 days of the collapse, the body was dead since 2 days, and by accident i got some of the dead person;s blood on my fore arm and hands. is there and rick of HIV transfer from such an exposure?and is the outer skin of a person suitable to make the virus survive for more than minutes or hours? example is the fluid that fills the blisters on second degree burns?thanks a lot

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

So what are you, an ambulance worker or a firefighter or both? And does that offer to visit the station still stand?

First off, if HIV-infected fluids come in contact with your skin, there is essentially no risk if your skin is intact.

Next, let me review the conventional wisdom about HIV in body fluids. HIV can be transmitted if these infected fluids come in contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin:

blood and blood products semen and pre-cum cervical and vaginal secretions menses

HIV can be present in, but is not transmitted through, the following fluids:

saliva tears blister fluid

HIV is not present in the following body fluids (unless contaminated by visible blood):

urine feces vomit sweat

Finally, the lifespan of an HIV particle in the body is approximately 24 hours. Once a person dies, the virus can no longer reproduce itself.

Consequently, your HIV risk from the situations you describe are nonexistent. Also, I would hope you would be wearing gloves when performing such duties.

Now stop worrying so much, OK Firefighter-Ambulance-Guy?

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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