HIV from fish & human blood
Hello. It's nasty I know. We use huge gallons of fish blood and remains. Fish and some human blood from cuts that my fellow fishermen had. I fell inside the big tank and some came in my mouth and eyes. Do I test or go on PEP?
Hi there & thanks for using AIDS Vancouver as your source of HIV/AIDS related information. I will do my best to fully answer your question.
HIV is a virus that can only survive inside of a human host. Once it is outside of the body, it begins to die within seconds to minutes. So, it is not possible for fish blood to contain HIV or for HIV to survive inside fish blood.
In terms of the bleeding cuts of your co-workers, do you know if there was a lot of their blood mixed into the fish blood? If they had minor cuts that were maybe bleeding into the mixture then no, there would be no risk of acquiring HIV.
While there have been a couple (and very rare) reports of HIV transmission into a person's eye, this has generally been in a medical setting where HIV+ blood sprayed from a patient into a worker's eye. That said, even in this situation transmission is extremely rare and unlikely.
If this situation is a source of anxiety and concern for you, I would encourage you to visit a doctor and explain the situation. They will then be able to recommend any tests they would feel necessary based on the situation.
Personally, no, I would not advise you to take PEP from this situation. PEP is only advised in situations where a person is known to be HIV+ and a high risk activity (unprotected anal/vaginal sex or sharing needles) has occurred. Given that the blood of unknown status was mixed with fish blood, transmission is exceedingly unlikely. Moreover, although there was blood in your mouth and eyes, transmission is very unlikely that way.
I hope this has helped to address your question. If you have any other concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to email us with them.
All the best,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline
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