[Question #2842] Birthday Party Gone Wrong

40 months ago
Hello, Doctors. It seems this week of my life is all about possible HIV encounter. This time, however, I am writing more for another mom, who is worried about something that happen at my daughter's birthday party. We had cakes delivered in tupperware food containers for the birthday party. As per caterer's instructions, we kept them in dry place and cool, but not refrigirated. The next day, kids started eating those cakes right from the container. One of the moms then notices some dark brown/ black speks mixed in with the crumbs that the cake was decorated with. I looked in one of the pieces (they stood out a bit), they were dry and crambled between my fingers, so I thought nothing of it. One of the moms, however, contacted me an hour earlier stating that it could had been blood. And could had been infected. Wow. I am so sorry to cause all this worry, so I am turning to you once again. I will forward this as email to all that may wonder. First, I have reassured her that even if it were blood and even if HIV+ , it would not infect since it was outside of body, but she said they were in tight containers which is like being in the syringe and blood on that cake could survive for long, long time. So here are the questions:

- I know drying and exposure to air kills the virus. Would being in a tupperware container be enough oxygen for that to occur? 
- Black and brown crumbs (even if blood) that broke apart easily means it was dry and not able to infect, correct?
-Can I just advice them to move on from the incident, not test and for me not to feel guilty for advising this? Thank you

Thank you for your patience and all you do!

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
Welcome back to the Forum. On this occasion I will be answering your new questions.  I did ready your earlier interaction with Dr. Handsfield and agree with all that he said. 

The events you describe are no risk events.  it is unlikely that the pieces you saw were blood.  It is also unlikely that if they were blood that they contained HIV or hepatitis.  And even if they did ingesting them would not put the person who ingested the blood at risk for infection.  To expand on this:

1.  if fresh blood had gotten into the Tupperware container, it would not have looked like crumbs but would have run or smeared in the bowl.  Even if it were blood, it is statistically unlikely that it came from a person with HIV or hepatitis.
2.  As blood (or secretions of any sort) are exposed to the environment they become non-infectious, even before they die which occurs quickly during the drying process.
3.  Finally, eating, swallowing or otherwise ingesting HIV does not lead to infection.  Even if the person swallowing the material has bad teeth or sores in their mouth.  It is still a no risk event.

Thus, your advice for them to move on and not worry is correct.  no reason for guilt.  I hope this comment is helpful.  EWH