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Chance of HIV transmission?
Apr 20, 2013

Hello, I have a question regarding the chances of getting HIV through vomit containing blood. I usually don't freak myself out this much, but I am nothing but worried today, so much so that I can't focus on anything else except googling different things to try to find an answer. Which has essentially brought me here.

Let me explain my situation. Today at work, a co-worker who I have known for years, and who has dealt with on and off drug use for years, was vomitting today. As we were driving down the highway, he leaned way out the window and started vomitting. I then started to feel little trickles coming back in the truck (mind you we were doing about 65mph while this was happening). It almost felt the same as when someone with wet hands splashes you in the face with water droplets. These trickles landed on my face, lips, and around my right eye (not sure if anything went in my eye, I was too disgusted to pay attention to details). As I stated before, this person has used drugs on and off for years (needle sharing? I am unsure.) but lets assume he has done so and is HIV positive. I have no idea whether or not blood was present in his vomit (when I wiped it using my sleeve I couldn't really tell what it looked like other than saliva like, not chunky or anything). He's been throwing up like this for years, I assume it's due to his drug use, and id like to assume there was blood in his vomit, although that may not be an accurate assumption. He also says he has an infected wisdom tooth, so hopefully there was no open sore in his mouth either.

After googling for information, a lot of people say vomit with viable blood can put you at risk, and transmission through the eyes are possible.

I have no idea what to think anymore as people say you need a high volume of blood in the vomit, with a lot of exposure while other say the opposite. Some sites say hiv is hard to transmit while others seem like one drop of blood on an open cut and you're infected.

What are my chances of getting HIV from this. I'm in a long term relationship, getting ready to graduate college, this is the last thing I need now.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for your question,

There really isn't risk from what you're describing. Sometimes it's hard to tease out actual risk, but you're right by saying that HIV is relatively hard to get. A drop of blood with HIV in an open cut is likely not to infect someone. You're talking about a situation where there's no visible blood, it's not at all in a significant quantity, and it isn't getting inside your body (a droplet of what's mostly, if not completely, vomit around your lip or eye isn't going to count).

Hope this helps!

Erik



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