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Possibly exposed to HIV in Jail?!
Aug 18, 2000

I recently had a cartilage piercing in my ear. A few hours after I had it pierced, I was arrested (petty theft) and sent to jail where I was forced to remove all my jewelry including the earring from my freshly pierced ear. It bled a lot and an officer gave me a band aid. Another officer who had gloves on (surgical gloves) took the earring and put it in an envelope that would later be returned to me. I'm wondering if there is a possibility that something from the gloves was passed onto the earring, then passed onto me when I put the earring back in about an hour later and sort of 're-pierced' my ear since it had already begun to close up. Could I have been exposed to HIV? I'm concerned because who knows who or what those gloves had been handling -- not to mention that the jail was pretty dirty. Am I paranoid or what? Thanks Again

Response from Mr. Kull

I don't see how you could have been infected with HIV this way. First of all, the virus probably would not have survived long enough to have been passed from one person to the glove, then the glove to the earring, and then an hour later to you from the earring. HIV is just not transmitted this way. It's also possible that the officers change the gloves they use with each new contact, especially if it comes into contact with bodily fluids. Read the response to How long does HIV live outside of the body?.

RMK



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