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Mucous membrane exposure with dried blood.
Oct 4, 2001

I know that supposedly HIV is inactivated when blood dries. I had a little blood on my gloves at work. I had to wipe my nose immediately because it was dripping, so like an idiot I grabbed a tissue and wiped my nose without thinking that I had anything on my gloves. Well, the mucous from my nose got the blood wet and it soaked through and possibly came in contact with my mucous membrane. Besides the risk of hepatitis, is this still a high risk for HIV transmission? How do mucous membrane transmissions occur? Don't they actually secrete(sp)fluid which would help prevent HIV from entering the bloodstream? Maybe I'm way off, but could you please explain this to me.

Response from Dr. Henry

There has never been a documented transmission after an exposure on the order of what you described. The CDC reported many years ago three cases of mucous membrane exposure or skin exposure after impressive contacts with the blood from AIDS patients. There is believed to be a substance in saliva which may inactivate HIV. I am not aware if that has been looked at re:nasal secretions. Dried blood that has been remoistened which likely be less infections that fresh blood. The mucous membranes of the nose-unless dried and /or cracked/bleeding would also confer some level of protection from HIV infection. The exposure you described-though of concern-would be a very low risk exposure even if the index patient was known to be HIV infected. KH



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