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July 30, 2010 – Climbers at Risk for Hepatitis/HIV?

A recent UIAA medical study reports that climbers may be at an increased risk of contracting Hepatitis and HIV.

A recent UIAA medical study reports that climbers may be at an increased risk of contracting Hepatitis and HIV. It seems that these blood-borne diseases can be transmitted through blood left behind on climbing holds and that indoor climbers are particularly susceptible to this form of transmission. The study concluded that there is a risk of blood-to-blood transmission in climbing if a climber with a bleeding wound leaves drops of blood on a handhold and another climber with skin lacerations or a comes into contact with this blood. As most climbers suffer from cuts on their fingers and hands, the UIAA Medical Commission recommends that indoor climbers with active bleeding, “be removed from the event as soon as this is practical. Bleeding must be controlled and the wound cleansed with soap and water or antiseptic. Climbing holds with blood stains need to be cleaned and brushed, if necessary with antiseptic or disinfectant. They need to dry out before re-use.”

More details here and here.