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"What really means direct/ immediate?"
Feb 28, 2012

Mr. Glenn would you mind explaining the phrase "direct/immediate" that all of you use so often? For example, if there is HIV+ vaginal fluid or semen on a table (outside the body infection) and someone touched it with a fresh paper cut or a wound, isn't there any possibility to contract hiv?

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for your question,

I'd be happy to explain!

Direct basically means the part of someone that's giving HIV is in contact with the part of another person that could receive it. If there's anything in between, then that's indirect contact.

The example you gave is indirect. The vagina and wound aren't touching. The vagina touches a hand (probably) then the hand touches the table then the table touches the wound. That's very indirect.

Immediate means that no time has passed. I know, there is the question of "how much time." If you were to push any of the experts here, that's technically a hard question to answer. I usually work backwards to help people understand: 30 minutes is too long, 10 minutes is too long, 5 minutes is too long, a couple of minutes is probably too long. Basically, if you didn't see the person who left the fluid.. then by the time you came around, many many minutes have passed (i.e too much time!).

In your example, if we don't know where the the vaginal fluid came from, that means the person had enough time to leave it and get away (i.e. too much time has passed!)

As an aside: a fresh paper cut or wound would have to be substantial, big, and probably capable of bleeding a lot to be a good way for HIV to get into the body.

I know this is a lot of explanation. Hope this helps!

Erik



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