Anonymous
Hello,

I just came from a teeth cleaning at my dentist's.
The assistant adjusted the lamp on the chair and touched the handle.
While she was cleaning my teeth I saw foreign blood (dried?) on the handle of the lamp.
She said that she had probably overlooked it.
Could the blood have come from the handle over the gloves into my mouth and have infected me with HIV while the bloody cleaning procedure?
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about your encounter at the dentist for a cleaning procedure, in which you are worried that the blood from the handle of the lamp may have came into contact with your mouth. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No risk (Transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

For transmission to occur, the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation must be met: there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid (ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream (ie: inside of the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) paired with a High Risk, Low Risk, or Negligible Risk activity (ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child) (1).

From the way you have described the presence of blood (dried or otherwise), there would also be No Risk, because when the blood is exposed to the air (oxygen), it becomes quickly rendered inactive.

Consider the following quote from the CDC:

"HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host.” (1).

There is thus no way you could have contracted HIV through the blood on the lamp. The same goes for the blood going into your mouth, because the saliva enzymes in the mouth also render the HIV inactive.

HIV is not transmitted through the saliva (1).

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

Regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Heidi
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