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Risk from HIV+ co-worker "your reassurance means alot"
Jan 31, 2012

Hi. I have asked questions on here before and read your responses to others and you are very reassuring. I was hoping you could reassure me. One of my co workers is hiv positive and I constantly worry at work about coming in contact with stuff he touches. My niece lives with me and when I get Home I cannot hug her until i have took a shower and changed out of my clothes that I wore to work because of constant fear that my clothes are contaminated because I have touched things he has. I fear to because he often has scratches on his hands from his cats.(he has 5) I know they say hiv doesn't live well in the environment but that means for a few seconds to minutes it is. so if I touch the door after him and eat something with my hand without washing am I at risk if he touched that door with his cut? Please let me know if I can work with him and touch stuff even if he has scratches with out becoming infected. I need to be sure for my niece. I love my job and do not want to leave because of the risk and fear. please your reassuring words will help me very much. thank you.

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for you question!

You have absolutely no risk of getting HIV from your co-worker through casual workplace interactions. None. This is actually a simple and quick question for us to answer. Let's explore why.

For someone to get HIV, we need HIV positive body fluid to come out of someone's body and go directly/immediately inside of someone else's body.

Only blood, semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluid, and breast milk can carry HIV. The virus must be transmitted directly from person-to-person and immediately. This is because HIV can't survive in the open environment. Additionally, HIV needs a sufficient way to get into another person's body. Examples include: the penis, the anus, the vagina, a fresh open wound. Examples DO NOT include: old healed or semi-healed cuts, unbroken skin (if you don't know whether it's unbroken, it most probably wasn't).

This is all information you can find in our fact sheets, but I'm listing them here to emphasis how each point is necessary. Not some, ALL. We can go through it like a checklist. As soon as we hit a "no, that didn't happen" we know immediately that there's no chance of getting HIV.

The first "no, that didn't happen" for you is the "HIV positive body fluid coming out of someone's body." That simply doesn't happen at work. And even if it did, through a big accident, it wouldn't survive in the open air. Also, it wouldn't have a chance to get into your body.

This is something that many people are curious about. I would encourage you to share the knowledge that you're getting! We live in a world that is still scared of getting HIV in their daily life through casual activities. There's no risk from that.

Take some time to think over this information we've talked about. It can take a second to make the switch in your head. If it ends up not making you feel much better, it may be less about the facts and figures and more about how you're able to manage your anxiety .

Hope this helps and is reassuring!

Erik



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