Red Springs, NC asked in Criminal Law, Employment Law and Federal Crimes for North Carolina

Q: Can I be charged for warning a coworker not to eat at a fastfood restuarant because someone working there has hiv?

I learned of this person hiv status at a previous job 4 years previous.

1 Lawyer Answer
Bill Powers
Bill Powers
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: 1. You don't get HIV that way; and,

2. Talking about someone with HIV isn't a criminal offense in NC; and,

3. Check out:

No incident of food being contaminated with HIV-infected blood or semen has been reported to CDC. Furthermore, CDC has received no reports of HIV infection resulting from eating food, including condiments. HIV does not live long outside the body. Even if small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen was consumed, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.

You cannot transmit HIV through food. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It needs human-to-human contact to be transmitted. HIV is a weak virus. It dies immediately when it is exposed to air. It needs a closed system to survive (ie- the human body).

It is also worth noting, the scientific literature indicates that even if the food contained blood and even if that blood contained the HIV virus, it still would not have direct access to your bloodstream.

When you eat food, it is mixed with saliva. Saliva has an enzyme in it that inhibits HIV, actually breaking it down, not allowing it to survive or live within saliva.

The virus cannot go through skin, so your mouth does not provide direct access to your bloodstream. Furthermore, not much of anything can survive within the human stomach. Its purpose is to break down everything that enters it-HIV is no exception to this.

Direct access means either unprotected vaginal or anal sex, the sharing of needles, or deep, fresh and profusely bleeding wounds. This would not apply to a cut in the mouth or on the lips. Without direct access to your bloodstream, the HIV virus has no way of being transmitted to you.

Bill Powers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.