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A question I've always had
Aug 24, 2014

Hi Dr. Wohl,

I know that HIV is not spread through the air. But I've always wondered this- what if someone who is HIV positive has a cut in his nose? Would it be possible, then, that the air he breathes out has blood in it? If so, is it enough to be considered an HIV risk?

Thanks in advance! Curious and Concerned (hahaha)

Response from Dr. Wohl

People are justifiably scared of HIV infection, as they are of all life-threatening microbes. But these organisms are each different, sometimes dramatically so, in size, shape, modes of transmission, and infectiousness.

HIV evolved to spread a certain way. It requires considerable amounts of virus to be transmitted to just the right places where certain cells are located and can become infected. Minute amours of virus don't escape the body's defenses and establish infection - overwhelming numbers do.

So, microscopic Horton Hears a Who specks floating on air or on a door knob or even the lips of a lover don't do it.

DW



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