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hiv transmission and dried patients blood
May 23, 2006

I am a health professional, and recently participated in a surgical procedure for an HIV+ patient. We have to clean the whole OR room and unfortunately when I was about to remove a light handle fron an operating light something got into my eyes and I am afraid it was dried patient blood. What is the chance of contracting HIV from dried blood? Unfortunatety, I wasn't able to wash my eyes after that incident. Please help me. I am quite disturbed with these thoughts. Thank you very much.

Response from Dr. Conway

As I understand it, you are not sure what the substance was, except to say that you are quite certain that it was dried. HIV does not survive well in the environment. Although it is possible to be infected from contact with infected patient material during a medical procedure, this must happen by direct and immediate exposure to the infected fluid onto non-intact skin or a mucosal surface. Transmission from a dried substance or environmental surface (such as you describe) has never, to my knowledge, occurred. Stop being disturbed with these thoughts.

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