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Risk from friend's former possessions "HIV does not live 'well' outside the body"

Jan 26, 2012

I have been reading a lot lately about HIV because someone i know just passed away and they were HIV positive. Throughout the years that I knew this gentleman he never told me that he was infected with this. Now i am worried. There have been many times that I may have touched his dry blood or other bodily fluids(dried). When they are dry can they still infect others? My research says that HIV does not live "well" outside the body. So, does that mean it still does live though? For how long? Also, I have a lot of items from him in my office. He was a collector of many nice things and when he passed his family knew how much he liked me and the other office staff so they gave us many of his things. Some of these things were items that he would of had to put together by hand, and because they were sharp there is a good chance he could of cut himself and left blood on these items. If these items (fake plants, vases, plastics, glass items, wood items) had any of his dry bodily fluids on them could I be at risk? Should I throw away his items? He was a good friend, so I want to keep memories of him around, but at the same time, if i can be infected then obviously I should get rid of them. I am very nervous, confused, please help! Should I keep these items that he may have left dried bodily fluids on or not? Can they infect me?

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for the question,

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend's passing. You sound very lucky to have received all these mementos from his life, I'm sure they'll be useful in keeping his memory alive for you.

That said, there is absolutely no possible way for you contract HIV from any of his possessions. My colleague Shannon gives a clear reason as to why in a recent question to our forum. "HIV dies within minutes." It simply cannot live outside the human body.

This sounds like a great opportunity for you to honor his life by learning more and becoming a strong ally to people living with HIV

Hope this helps and encourages you to continue building out your knowledge.

Get started by taking our HIV/AIDS Quiz and reading Tasks for Friends and Family!


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