HIV transmission – Blood contact

HIV can be transmitted through blood.

It can happen through blood transfusions, the use of needles previously used by someone with HIV (for injecting drugs for example) and getting pricked by an infected needle.

The chance of contracting HIV from blood (blood transfusion) in a Dutch hospital is extremely small. In Europe and the United States, blood is routinely checked for HIV and infected blood is not used. Not all countries test blood used in hospitals. In many countries, blood transfusions constitute a risk of HIV infection.

In some professions, people are exposed to a higher risk of HIV through blood contact, from bite wounds for example (police and security personnel) or getting pricked with an infected needle (doctors and laboratory workers). Rules to limit the chance of infection vary depending on the work situation. For example, a dentist wears gloves to reduce the risk.