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Blood oaths, blood transfusions, syringes with infected blood

Question: 

Hello friends,

I have a few theoritical questions about HIV blood transmission.

1. You probably know the common practice of high-school blood oaths, where a grop of people cut their palms or their wrist arteries with a razor and then perform contact or handshake with deep wounds. My question is - In this situation will PEP will needed (and testing respectively)

2. A person decides to donate blood and it happens to be in his/hers WINDOW PEROD. Is there a possibility the medical staff not to detect the virus and then to be transmitted to other people?

3. As a final of my inquiery I would like to ask you about the famous myth "synergy filled with hiv blood". For how long it is possible the virus in the blood to survive there.

Thanks in advance fo your help and answers

Thanks in advance for the answers

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the HIV risk associated with blood oaths, the possibility of a test not detecting HIV in donated blood during someone's window period, and the length of time HIV can survive in a syringe filled with HIV blood. I will answer each question in separate segments:

  1. A blood oath in which one person with a fresh wound presses the wound against someone else's fresh wound is determined to be Low Risk (Evidence of transmission occurs through these activities when certain conditions are met). The scenario mentioned could meet the three components of the Transmission Equation if the wounds are very deep and actively bleeding, possibly leading to the exchange of blood. "Blood Brotherhood" rituals can result in the transfer of blood-borne diseases (Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, HIV), thus preventing these activities and increasing public awareness of the potential harm associated is important (1).

  2. In regards to blood donations there are a few ways the healthcare system ensures donated blood is safe for recipients. First, basic questioning occurs before a blood donation at a clinic, called donor screening, which helps reduce the risk of taking blood from someone that is at risk of being in the window period of an HIV infection. Second, all donated blood is tested using both antibody testing as well as nucleic acid testing (NAT). Together, these tests help reduce the window period to approximately 9 days (2). With this in mind, it is ultimately up to the donor to ensure the blood they are donating is safe to use by not engaging is high risk activities, such as unprotected sex or sharing needles, before donating blood.

  3. HIV can remain active inside a syringe for up to 42 days if it the syringe is large, there is a lot of HIV-infected blood present, and it is kept at cool temperatures (3). Temperature and storage time have a major effect on the survival of HIV, with warmer temperatures and longer storage time significantly reducing the presence of active HIV virus (4). In terms of general safety, discard all used syringes immediately and never reuse a syringe.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie