Anonymous

Hi,

 

I'd like to preface this by stating that I'm an overprotective parent fighting with an OCD diagnosis.

 

Here is the situation:

-Yesterday (New Years), I was walking my 3 year old son from a restaurant to our van and noticed a puddle of fresh vomit

-The vomit was light pink (which has me paranoid of blood presence)

-The vomit was reversed over by a car and wet tracks were left in our path. 

-We walked around the large puddle, but crossed over the wet tracks and may have stepped on residual vomit

-I urged my wife and Mother to let me clean of my son's shoes and hands, but they thought it was silly

-Once he got in the car, like every other toddler, his hands were eventually in his face/mouth and he may have touched his shoes.

Do I need to worry or test him?

Thank you so much any assistance.

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helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

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

The reason why there is no risk for HIV transmission in this situation is due to the fact that vomit typically does not contain enough HIV to infect someone, unless it has blood mixed in it and one has significant and direct contact it (1). According to the HIV Transmission Equation (see below), HIV transmission requires a bodily fluid (e.g. blood) that has direct access to the bloodstream (e.g. via open cuts and sores, sexual organs, mucosal membranes, etc.) through an High/Low/Negligible Risk activity.

Even if the vomit hypothetically contained a large amount of blood in it, an important consideration is the fact that HIV (contained in a body fluid such as blood) is extremely sensitive to the outer environment. Exposure to oxygen in the air causes HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration (2). From the CDC, HIV contained in a fluid has a rapid (within several hours) reduction in concentration of 90-99%, which would render it inactive (2).

Furthermore, another reason why there is no risk for HIV transmission in this situation is due to the fact that HIV does not spread through saliva (3). Saliva can "inhibit HIV replication in infected cells and can rapidly kill HIV-infected leukocytes" (4). This is because saliva has "components that can aggregate HIV" and also contains proteins which can protect against HIV and render HIV particles ineffective (e.g. peroxidases). Therefore, even if your child had swallowed blood containing HIV particles, it is extremely unlikely for HIV transmission to occur in this situation.

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

Best regards,
AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Shirley

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Helpline Transmission Equation  (1).jpg 
Additional Resources: 
(1) HIV AND AIDS AWARENESS
(2) HIV Environmental Exposure
(3) HIV Transmission Basics
(4) The Oral Mucosa Immune Environment and Oral Transmission of HIV/SIV
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