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Can one get AIDS by consuming food contaminated with blood?

Q: I recently read news citing a case in Mumbai. The news said that a 10-year old boy ate pani puri about 10 days ago and fell sick. Later when he got a health check up done, the doctors diagnosed that he had AIDS. His parents couldn't believe it. The entire family underwent a check up, but none of them were suffering from the same. The doctor then asked the boy, whether he had eaten out and the boy mentioned that he had pani puri one evening. The hospital team went there to check and found that the pani puri seller had received a cut on his finger while cutting onions and his blood had spread in the food. When the doctors checked his blood, they found that he too was suffering from AIDS but was not aware. Is it possible to have AIDS by eating food contaminated by blood of an AIDS patient? This news had spread panic among people and created more stigma among the masses regarding AIDS. Please highlight the various modes of spreading of the virus.

A:It is extremely unlikely that HIV would be spread in the way you have described. Firstly the volume of blood ingested (even if it did occur) is likely to have been very small. Secondly while consuming HIV positive blood can theoretically give rise to HIV infection, it is not very likely. Thirdly, and most importantly, given if the child did get infected, in 10 days he would still be in the window period and the usual tests would not have picked up the infection. Please also note that single tests are quite likely to give wrong results due to false positive reports. Single tests do not have any diagnostic value and must always be confirmed by a second test.


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