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3rd time, not in the forums - I've looked!
Jun 21, 2007

Dear Dr. Bob,

A tremendous thanks for the amazing work you do on this site and for your efforts worldwide. You are truly an inspiration. I have made a donation to your wonderful organization. I have looked through the forums but cannot seem to find an answer to my questions. Here goes:

1. I know HIV does not survive long outside the body, but whenever I read this it always says "drying kills HIV". Is the virus dying contingent on its drying? If someone came into contact with a little semen or blood that had been exposed to air for 10 minutes that had not yet dried, would they be at risk?

2. I am concerned for a friend of mine because he recently returned to the states after traveling in Africa (primarily in Ghana). He did not have unsafe sex or share needles for injection drug use while there, but he got blood drawn several times for malaria screening (while in Ghana). This is a high HIV area and I don't know whether they practice universal precautions there. Does my friend need testing?

Thank you again Doctor. You are truly amazing. Maybe I will see you in San Fran sometime - it's my favorite city in the world!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thanks for your kind comments.

1. There is no absolute answer to this type of question, as there are far too many variables to consider. For instance, how much is "a little?" What are the ambient environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, etc.? What is the viral load? What does "come into contact with" mean? Is it blood to open wound? Semen to mucous membrane? Bodily fluid to intact skin? Etc., etc., etc. The best we can offer is that HIV doesn't survive very long outside the body. "Drying" is not the key and only factor involved in HIV viability outside the body.

2. Getting blood drawn for malaria screening in Ghana would not be considered an HIV risk. HIV testing would not be warranted. However, if your friend is worried, a single rapid HIV test at the three-month mark would confirm his HIV-negative status.

Finally, isn't San Francisco everyone's favorite city in the world???

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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