This website provides advice about how you can avoid getting HIV from blood during injections, infusions, dental care, tattooing and other skin-piercing procedures in healthcare and cosmetic services. Use the menu on the right to find information about specific procedures.
What is the risk?
One factor to consider: How many other patients or clients are HIV-positive? Where >20% of patients are HIV-positive (as in much of Southern and Eastern Africa) your risk is greater than in most of the world outside Africa, where less than 2 in 1,000 people are infected.
A second factor to consider: HIV can live in dry blood (for example, on a razor) for hours; and in wet blood (for example in a reused syringe) for weeks.
A third factor to consider: HIV transmits more easily through skin-piercing events than it does it does through sex (click here for more information on bloodborne transmission risks).
Governments in Africa — where the need is greatest — have not investigated evidence some hospitals and clinics infected people with HIV. In contrast, governments in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and North Africa have investigated and stopped more than twenty HIV outbreaks through unsafe healthcare. For a country-by-country account of investigated outbreaks — and unexplained cases governments have ignored — click on: Outbreaks and unexplained cases in the menu on the right.
You or someone you know may be a victim of common errors in HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, errors that stem from unethical and incomplete research.
Worry about skin-piercing instruments, but DON’T WORRY ABOUT THINGS WITH NO RISK! You won’t get HIV from bug bites. Casual contact is safe! Hugging, kissing, eating together, sharing a wash-basin or swimming pool, and other everyday activities are safe. They are safe because people with HIV have skin that keeps the virus in, and others have skin that keeps the virus out.
1. NAM aidsmap. Survival outside the body. Available at: http://www.aidsmap.com/Survival-outside-the-body/page/1321278/ (accessed 4 March 2018).
2. Kramer A, Schwebke I, Kampf G. How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review. BMC Infect Dis 2006; 6: 130. Available at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/6/130 (accessed 30August 2013).
3. Centers for Disease Control. Recommendations for prevention of HIV transmission in health-care settings. MMWR 1987; 36 (suppl 2S). Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00023587.htm (accessed 7 January 2011).