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Would you be interested in settling a debate? I will donate the winnings if I win!
Aug 6, 2008

Hello Dr. Bob. Myself and a friend of mine are having an argument about HIV. He is a bouncer and often has to break up fights. I brought up the risk of HIV from being exposed to someone else's blood. He said he doesn't worry because "HIV dies when it hits the air". Now, I know HIV does not live long outside of the body. However, if he had a cut on his hand,(whether it be small or large) would it be possible for him to have a risk?

He said that he read that the only way that would be possible is if his cut was covered with blood.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You are both correct? It is indeed true that HIV doesn't live very long outside the body. However, there is at least a theoretical risk that if the fighting dudes have managed to inflict significant wounds that are actively bleeding and if your bouncer buddy then manages to get a significant cut or wound that is also actively bleeding and if the fighting dudes are HIV positive and if the actively bleeding wound from one of the HIV-positive fighting dudes comes into direct contact with bouncer buddy's actively bleeding wound, then HIV transmission might occur. Please note that is a whole lot of very big "ifs"!!! Consequently, the actual chance of this occurring is so remote that the risk remains well within the theoretical realm (extremely unlikely!). Bouncers in general are not considered to be in a risk group for HIV, unless of course they are having unsafe sex with the patrons. And that, of course, is a whole different type of "bouncing"!

Hope that helps settle your dispute.

Dr. Bob



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