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MCB 06-07-2010 07:28 PM

As a bio major, should i be concerned with working with HIV?
 
I know it seems like i chose the wrong field if I am concerned with working with pathogens. However, i think there is a general fear of working with HIV (even though I am interested in doing HIV research). Should I be concerned? Everyone should be careful when working in the lab. I am just worried about the what if. I understand HIV is only biosafety level 2.

Bonnie 06-09-2010 09:41 PM

Re: As a bio major, should i be concerned with working with HIV?
 
It's good to have a healthy concern for safety. It helps you develop and maintain proper procedures for dealing with potentially hazardous materials.

If you follow proper BSL-2 procedures, the chances that you'll contract a pathogen are very, very low. You're probably much more likely to get hit by a bus on your way to work than to get HIV at work.

There are also further steps you can take that aren't specifically included in the BSL-2 specification, sort of "BSL-2+". For example, when working with any kind of virus, I always wear a face mask and completely avoid using sharps or glass, while for standard BSL-2 work (ie. culture of human cells) I don't wear a mask and I use glass pipettes. Most labs have their own specific safety protocols that you can ask about before accepting a position there, to make sure you're comfortable with their level of risk management.


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