Anonymous
Hello,

I have a very specific situation.
In the morning, I vomited. It appeared to be clear with no indication of blood. About 5 minutes later, I was asked to put a bandaid on my friend who had had a mole removed. The wound looked red from removal (more than a few days prior) but was not openly bleeding, and had a layer of vaseline on it.

Could I have exposed my friend to HIV? I did not get to wash my hands even though I do not believe I touched the vomit.

Sincerely,

Please Help, Trying to Get Smart About This
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of HIV surviving from vomit on your hands outside of the body.
From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

Please consider the following:

HIV outside the body or drying HIV causes a rapid reduction in HIV concentration (1). The CDC quotes that "HIV does not survive long outside the body (such as on surfaces) and cannot reproduce outside of the host" (1).

Vomit is a highly acidic bodily fluid and either does not contain any/enough virus to infect another person with HIV. However, if urine, feces, saliva, or vomit contain blood, there would be a possibility of transmitting the infection (2).

We consider this scenario to be of no risk due to the lack of HIV in the vomit you may have gotten on your hands, coupled with the exposure to oxygen once the vomit was exposed to the environment.

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

Best,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Cody

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