Bloodborne HIV: Don't Get Stuck!

Protect yourself from bloodborne HIV during healthcare and cosmetic services

Patient observed sterile treatment for other blood contacts in home and community

POST for other blood contacts in the home and community
1. Avoid skin-piercing procedures (a) If you or someone else is bleeding, wash and cover the wound to protect others from blood contact.(b) Some community rituals involve potential blood-to-blood contact, such as nyau, a traditional dance in Zambia, in which men whip each other. Avoid such rituals, or revise them to prevent blood-to-blood contact.(c) During games and sports, ask anyone who is bleeding to sit out until the wound is covered. If they won’t do so, take yourself out of the game – and out of harm’s way.
2. Use new disposable instruments This doesn’t apply to most things you use around the house.
3. You sterilize the instruments (a) Anything sharp (such as razors or combs) or that comes into contact with mucous tissue (such as toothbrushes) should not be shared; each person can have their own; or instruments can be boiled before sharing. (b) bloody cloth or blood spills can be cleaned with bleach; cloth may also be disposed where no one will touch it. (c) In parts of Africa, people use needles to remove jiggers (that is: to dig insect larvae out of toenail cuticles). You can sterilize needles by holding them in a flame until they are hot enough to burn you, and then allowing to air cool.
4. Ask providers how they sterilize instruments Not relevant.

Additional information for other blood contacts in the home and community

Any family member may have a blood-borne virus that others don’t have: Some germs – such as those that cause colds and flu – pass from one family member to others easily and fast through the air or through touch. If one person in the family is sick, you can assume that everyone has been exposed. However, viruses that live primarily in the blood, like HIV, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus, do not spread so easily within a family. Blood from anyone else in your family may be a danger to you – it might carry a virus you don’t have, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV.

Bites: Most human bites are low risk to transmit HIV. Rare cases of HIV transmission have been reported through severe bites “with extensive tissue tearing and damage and presence of blood.”[1]i

Razors, combs: Risks to transmit HIV through sharing these items are increased when anyone has a sore with blood or pus. If you make a practice of sharing these items, sooner or later you may share small amounts of blood.


1. CDC. Can I get HIV from a bite? Available at:


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