[Question #91] Blood on Food?

39 months ago
Dear Doctor,

How's everything?

I heard rumors that terrorists sometimes inject HIV infected blood into food to spread the disease ( not sure if it's true or not ).

My questions are: If I ate a steak that was injected with HIV+ blood (the steak was warm when I ate it), would I be at any risk? Do I need testing? I assume that if the steak was warm,  HIV viruses would die very quickly and I would be safe. Is my assumption correct?

Looking forward to your help!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  Your question is a familiar one although previous clients have asked if HIV or other STIs might be transmitted if the cook or server had an open cut or STI and contaminated the food.  The answer to your question and the other version is precisely the same- there is NO RISK AT ALL from ingestion of food contaminated by HIV or other STI bacteria and viruses which have been contaminated with infected blood or secretions.  The bacteria and viruses which cause STIs, including HIV are very fragile and do not live outside of the human body, even for a few seconds.  For this reason there is no way that food could be contaminated, eaten and lead to infection.  Incidentally and for others who might be also reading this reply, this is also the same reason that STIs, including HIV are never transmitted from person to person if genital secretions or blood are transmitted on one person's hands or body to another person- by the time the transfer has occurred the HIV or other pathogens are already non-infectious.  You have no need for testing for the sort of event that you describe above- I would not worry and encourage you to enjoy your dinner.  EWH
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38 months ago
Dear Doctor:

Thank you so much for your thorough explanation and kind help!

I just have one more little question if allowed: The nurse didn't wear gloves during my blood draw. If she had a cut on her hand, would the situation put me at any risk of HIV transmission?

38 months ago
If she had a cut on her hand, touched the needle, and sticked  the needle into my vein...or if she had a cut and touched my wound...
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
The chance that your nurse had a blood borne infection is quite low but, even if she was, and even if she had a recent cut or sore on her ands that touched you, there is no risk of infection for you.  Medical professionals typically wear gloves to protect themselves from their patients, not to protect their patients from them.  EWH
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38 months ago
Thank you so much! That is also the case if she touched the needle, right?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Yes., this is the case even if she touched the needle.  It is now time to end this thread.  Take care. EWH
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