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CPR/First Aid restrictions in school
Aug 29, 2001

I am HIV+ for 10+ years (thankfully very healthy!).I work in the office of an elementary school and serve as a backup to our clinic coordinator. We are required to be certified in CPR and first aid. I recently went through this training and asked the instructor if there were any restrictions about giving CPR in the case of an emergency. I know that with all first aid procedures, I use universal precautions (gloves, etc.). But the instructor was not sure whether I should give CPR, especially mouth to mouth resuscitation, and would not allow me to complete that part of the training. Any clarification would be appreciated. I don't want to do anything that would put any child or other staff at risk. Thanks so much!

Response from Ms. Breuer

Congratulations on your good health and your great attitude. You are clearly an asset to the school.

Now as to the CPR instructor, there's a bit more education needed there. In the entire case history of HIV/AIDS in the US, there is only one case of HIV transmission in intimate oral contact (in that case, deep kissing), and both parties had bleeding gums and extensive gum disease. You do not sound like a person who would give CPR, specifically mouth to mouth resuscitation, to someone else when you could taste your own blood in your mouth for some reason. You should have been allowed to complete the training. You are aware of universal precautions. You are committed to using them. You are obviously smarter than the average bear. You are WILLING to do first aid and CPR, which places you above a large number of employees whom I meet in workplace HIV education seminars all the time, people willing to let someone else go without first aid because they have a vague, undefined fear of contamination. Saliva DOES NOT transmit HIV. The instructor owes you an apology and the school is lucky to have you. Breathe on!

Co-worker with AIDS who is sick.
Thanks, Nancy!

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