How infectious is blood/semen stained money?

Question

Employees are in receipt of money from the coroners office and courts. Quite often the money has blood stains or other fluid stains. How long can HIV or Hepatitis live on inanimate objects before it dies or becomes non-infectious?

Answer

When HIV in blood, semen or either of the other two infectious fluids--vaginal fluids and breast milk--comes in contact with air, HIV is destroyed. There is no risk of contracting HIV from cash. Hepatitis B and C are more hardy and can be reactivated as long as a week or two later with moisture. However, to cause infection, they would have to come in contact with an opening into the money-handler's bloodstream. To reduce risk, I suggest that you advise employees to cover all cuts with bandaids. Anyone with a rash or broken skin could reduce the already remote risk by wearing latex gloves when coming in contact with anything that might have dried blood on it. No matter what the source of the money, cash is rife with various germs, and should be treated accordingly. Most important, employees should wash their hands after handling cash.

Nancy Breuer