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#103: HIV and used syringes (fwd)
From: Margaret Dadian <email@example.com>
"But thinking again... Doesn't the HIV virus die very quickly
once outside the human body? I have heard less than a minute, other have
said up to five minutes."
An epidemiologist friend of mine explained to me that used syringes remain
dangerous over time because small amounts of blood--unexposed to air--may be
left within the needle, even if the syringe has been washed superficially.
If infected blood is in fact exposed to air--say, some is spilled on a
clinic floor and dries there--the virus dies quickly.
Most HIV transmission by needle sharing probably occurs when drug users
share needles, so the blood is quite fresh and the likelihood of
transmission high. Another extremely dangerous situation is when a classful
of children are immunized one after the other with the same needle, as often
happens in poverty-stricken countries with inadequate public health budgets.
But clearly it can also be dangerous to re-use a poorly washed needle even
days after the initial use.
"I knew one doktč piki; he stated that he cleaned the syringe an
needle before using them again."
The question is: How did he clean them? With bleach, or with simple soap
and water, or just with water? Bleach does kill HIV, but probably must be
squirted through the needle to have any effect on infected blood lurking