Anonymous
Today during an autopsy I was handling a decomposing individual's hands, he was NOT cut open. Unknown if individual was HIV/ Hepatitis positive. Some skin slipped and sloughed off hand as I was handling, and a drop of unknown bodily fluid went under my face shield in into my eye. I immediately told the supervisor, and washed out my eye in the eye wash station for 20 mins and took out contacts. I have a follow up appointment soon, and have been told by many that the risk of developing HIV/ Hepatitis B or C is extremely small, especially since it wasn't likely blood that went into my eye. I would like a second opinion, as I will not know for a good 6 months for sure until all blood tests are done if I have or have not developed it. Thank you. Again, the decedent didn't have a history of HIV/ Hepatitis, but still treating it worst case scenario.
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Anonymous
Hello and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

It seems you are concerned about contracting HIV from a drop of body fluid that went into your eye from a decomposing body. we are glad to provide some information.

HIV survives 24-36 hours in the body after death if the body is not refrigerated. You mentioned that the body was decomposing which means that the internal conditions of the body were drastically changed that HIV would not survive. Therefore there is negligible risk of HIV transmission. The other factor to consider is that when HIV comes into contact with tears it does not transmit. The chances of infection from this activity are negligible.

It is also important to note that when HIV tests are done 12 weeks or three months after an exposure the results are considered conclusive. You do not have to wait for six months unless there are other factors that delay conclusive results like cancer treatment or other treatment that affect your immune system.

With regards to possible Hepatitis infection we unfortunately we are not qualified to comment. The best information would be from your doctor.

The AIDS Vancouver Helpline Online forum has postings that are related to your question that you can read for additional information. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us again.

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

In health

Lawrence


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

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