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Sharing Snorting Straws
Nov 7, 2011

I have a friend that is positive and shares straws with other people. He says there is no risk of passing on HIV through snorting, which I believe to be true although I worry about his health from perhaps contracting HEP C. Although he says there is no risk for him to pass on the virus through snorting, I also feel I should tell people about his status if they may be at risk and let them make the decision. Do you feel there may be a risk of transmission of Hep C and HIV through sharing straws?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

There have been published analyses documenting a very real risk of contracting Hepatitis C through non-injection drug use implements (both oral and intranasally). The risk of contracting Hep C was even greater among people who were HIV+ and who used such implements. There are more varied opinions about HIV risk and sharing snorting straws (although it is certainly theoretically possible), perhaps because HIV doesn't survive as long outside of the body. It would be the right thing to do if your friend disclosed his status, although anyone sharing drug use implements should realize they are at risk.

-David



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