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This may have been asked before but I am asking again...
Jan 7, 2013

Dear Shannon,

I know from reading the archives that hiv does not live well outside of the body. I dare say that you cannot catch hiv from fluids outside of the body because every moment those fluids are in an outside environment hiv dies a little bit more. How long, roughly, would you say hiv is infectious outside of the body in blood and bodily fluids though? Minutes? Seconds?

I ask because in my line of work I can come into contact with bodily fluids. I'm very concious of blood splatter and wear glasses to ensure this does not occur however occasionally I have come into contact with fluids outside of the body when I haven't been wearing gloves. This has been several minutes after they've left the body.

Any insight you could give would be appreciated.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi The way I try to explain it is by using the analysis of how a sponge dries. From the outside in. It does begin to die immediately and is all gone in minutes. Hepatitis C is more of a concern in these scenarios than HIV, because hepatitis C survives much longer outside of the body. Continue using your precautions and you should be fine.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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