If nasal secretions contain blood, they’re considered infectious for HIV. Not just visible blood since minute amounts of blood invisible to the naked eye could also make nasal secretions infectious.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed standard precautions (Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions) in 1996 (1). The World Health Organization also recommends using these precautions.

According to these standard precautions, ‘feces, nasal secretions, saliva, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, and vomitus are not considered potentially infectious unless they contain blood. The risk for transmission of HBV [Hepatitis B Virus], HCV [Hepatitis B Virus], and HIV infection from these fluids and materials is extremely low‘ (1).

They also add, ‘The following fluids are considered potentially infectious: cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid‘ (1). Obviously, contact with such bodily fluids is a risk factor for health care personnel, who are accordingly trained to avoid direct bodily contact with them.


  1. McGee, Patricia A., et al. “Updated US Public Health Service Guide lines for the management of occupational Exposures to HBV/HCV/HIV and recommendations for post exposure prophylaxis.” (2001). Page on cdc.gov