Question

I've heard the term minimal risk brandished about quite a bit and was hoping you could explain it better to me. When someone says an incident is at minimal risk for hiv what does that mean? I've heard this said about getting spit and small amounts of blood in your eye and being bitten.

Also, when you hear the term visible blood in a body fluid does that mean there actually has to be enough blood that you can see it for it to be infectious?

I'm guessing that the majority of these incidents never actually turn into a case of hiv transmission/ Is that correct?

Answer

It is hard in medicine to be absolute as there are exceptions and exceptional circumstances. IF there was an exposure that carried a 1 in a 500,000 chance of infection what would you call that? What if the risk was 1 in 5 million or 5 billion? Is that no risk?

The scenarios where we reply that risk was minimal often are those where odd of infection are extraordinarily low (i.e., pretty darn impossible).

As for the fluid blood thing, yes, we are talking visible blood.

DW