Dear Mr. Sowadsky, I heard some rumors that in my country there are some
people who was diagnosed HIV positive intentionally spread their virus
to other people in public places. I heard that they use needles to
transmit the virus and the victim are mostly women. Is it possible that
the victim might get the virus? Or are there any limitations in the
quantity of the virus injected? Can dry blood infects other people if it
contacts with other people's bloodstream? Thank you and best regards.
Hi. Thank you for your question.
In many places, purposely spreading HIV (sexually or otherwise) is a crime.
If a person does this, they could very well end up in jail or prison. In
order for a person to spread HIV to others through needles, their blood would
have to be directly injected into another person's bloodstream very quickly.
HIV doesn't live long outside the body. Once it's outside the body, the
virus begins to die. The longer the virus is outside the body, the weaker it
gets, and the less the chance for transmission to occur. The virus is
usually dead within minutes once it's outside the body. The more of their
blood that the victim of this crime is exposed to, the greater the chance for
transmission to occur. Once the blood is dry, the virus is dead, and
transmission with HIV will not occur.
Luckily crimes like this are quite rare. And sometimes the criminal may use
something that looks like blood (like water with red food coloring) just to
scare the victim into thinking they may have been exposed. The majority of
persons with HIV are responsible enough not to expose others to the virus.
But sadly, there is that small criminal element that will purposely expose
others to the virus. That's why some places specifically have laws
addressing the issue of purposely exposing others to HIV.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).
Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS