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Soiled bed sheets

Question: 

Hello. I am staying at the hotel. Room looked clean, I was very tired, so went to bed right away. When I woke up, I saw that the sheet I was sleeping on had a very large brown stain. Maybe blood, I do not know. Definately it did not come from me. I slept in my underwear, but it is very thin, right after the shower, so my body could had been moist a little when touched the sheet. If it was someone's blood, can I get HIV that way? I am very, very worried. Thank you

Answer: 

Hello and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

We understand that you are wondering if it is possible that you acquired HIV from a stain on a bed sheet that you slept on. This scenario is determined to carry no risk for transmission of HIV.

Scientists and medical authorities agree that HIV does not survive well in the environment, making the possibility of environmental transmission remote. To obtain data on the survival of HIV, laboratory studies have required the use of artificially high concentrations of laboratory-grown virus. Although these unnatural concentrations of HIV can be kept alive for days or even weeks under precisely controlled and limited laboratory conditions, CDC studies have shown that drying of even these high concentrations of HIV reduces the amount of infectious virus by 90 to 99 percent within several hours. Since the HIV concentrations used in laboratory studies are much higher than those actually found in blood or other specimens, drying of HIV infected human blood or other body fluids reduces the risk of environmental transmission to that which has been observed — essentially zero. (1)

For HIV transmission to occur, the following conditions must be met:

  1. There must be HIV present in a bodily fluid. The five bodily fluids that carry the HIV virus include: blood, semen (including pre-ejaculate), vaginal fluids, breast milk, and rectal secretions. (2)

  2. The bodily fluid containing HIV must have direct access to the bloodstream. This can be through cuts, tears, rips, mucous membranes, open sores, or needles. (2)

  3. Transmission occurs through a risky activity in which the first two conditions are met. For example: condom less sex, sharing needles, unsafe tattoos or piercings, vertical transmission–from mother to child (in utero, during delivery, breastfeeding) (2)

While the source of the stain you described is unknown, any potential HIV would have been rendered inactive when the fluid was exposed to air and dried. Additionally, from the details you provided, there was no direct access to your bloodstream, nor was any high risk activity involved.

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online Volunteer, Dyson