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What are bloodborne pathogens?

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Bloodborne pathogens are germs that live inside human blood and have the ability to cause disease, according to MedlinePlus. HIV is an example of a bloodborne pathogen that causes AIDS.

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Other examples of bloodborne pathogens are the hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, which can both cause liver damage, MedlinePlus reports. Bloodborne pathogens enter the body in many different ways. Bodily fluids, such as semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk, can carry bloodborne pathogens. A needle or any contaminated sharp object that cuts through the skin can transfer pathogens to the blood. Pathogens can also be transferred through moist parts of the body, such as the mouth and eyes.

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