Oct 26, 2001
From the many questions in the forum, I understand that as long as there is no immediate contact with infectious fluid, there is no risk as the HIV is destroyed by oxygen right?
But I am not quite sure what is meant by immediate contact. Does this mean that the fluid would have to be just out of the host body? What about drops of blood that has already been outside for a short while, say a minute or so but still wet. If it comes into contact with a cut I have on my finger? Am I still at risk?
| Response from Ms. Breuer
Good question. Wet blood is a sign that oxygen has not yet reached all the cells in the blood spill, so it must be treated as potentially infectious. If that blood contains either HIV or hepatitis B, exposing it to a break in your own skin or to a mucous membrane could risk infection.
OSHA views spilled blood in the workplace as a hazardous material. I hope you will, too. We can't be casual about blood anymore. And just in general: if you have an open cut, reduce your risk by bandaging it. You don't always know when you're going to encounter blood. A general rule: no more barehanded first aid! Thanks for your question.
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