Positively Adopted

Life with children who have HIV

What about blood spill accidents?

Sometimes kids bleed. It’s a fact of life. 

A family might worry about being exposed to the blood of their child with HIV and wonder whether this puts them at risk. 

According to the US Center for Disease Control, the 3 main methods  of transmission are sex, needle sharing, and birth/breast feeding. Outside of those 3 methods, transmission is virtually unheard of.

  • In the past 34 years, since scientists began tracking the virus, there has NEVER been a documented case of accidental transmission in a normal family environment.

Today's medicines work amazingly well by drastically reducing the viral load and, thus, the transmission capacity of the individual. In fact, many children who are on medication today have a medically defined ‘undetectable’ amount of HIV in their blood.

How do you handle accidents?

If a blood spill accident does occur, simple universal precautions (wearing gloves or using a paper towel as a barrier when wiping up spills, properly disposing of waste) are all that is needed.

  • The only difference between handling the scraped knee of a child with HIV versus a child without HIV is basically a napkin or a plastic glove. 

"There is clearly no basis for excluding any student from sports if they are infected. - I personally feel parents have no obligation to disclose the infectious status of their children to anyone."


-- Dr. Steven J. Anderson chair of the Academy of Pediatric's Committee on Sports Medicine and Team Doctor for the U.S. Olympic Diving Team.

"The media has said a lot about HIV, and people are afraid of it, but frankly you should be more afraid of cigarette smoke if you follow the epidemiology."  

- Catherine Salveson PhD


How does your family handle accidents?

"I handle her boo boos like I do her sibs... use a paper towel and clean up the blood. I'd probably use gloves if I had an open sore on my hand."  -Debbie

"I, personally, am casual about it. I know how to follow the most cautious recommendations. However, unless there is a major amount of blood I use whatever is handy for a barrier (like I would do with my other kids) and put a band-aid on my kid."   -Anita in OK

We put on gloves, clean up the blood and put on a bandage. Pretty simple!  -Mary C.

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