The decision to help an individual in need is a highly personal one-
Unless you are being paid for your lifesaving skills(at that moment), you are not legally obligated to perform CPR/help. Furthermore as long as you are trying to help you are a good samaritan and the likelihood of being successfully sued is miniscule. I think the fear of being sued do to bad outcome of CPR is not based on reality. In order to prove negligence you must do something wrong that then worsens a patients condition. If you are doing CPR the individual is already dead. It is hard to hurt someone without a pulse.
Since the disease has been documented by the CDC, there have been no documented and only 12 possible cases of trasmission of HIV to EMT/paramedics. To be "documented" the individual must have had a previous negative test as a baseline(maybe not explained in a CPR pamphlet but not hidden either). How many police officers get killed every year?
There is quite a bit of paranoia about HIV. As long as the patients mouth is not covered with large open sores or covered with blood the risk of Getting HIV by performing CPR is incredibly small(see previous post on open mouth kissing). I could not find any cases of transmission through CPR.
Dennis- This is not meant to be a flame but I find it distressing that you are "preaching" your biased views during a CPR class. You should be teaching facts and the facts do not support with holding CPR due to fear of catching a terrible bug.
The example of monica lewinsky is entertaining, but not really pertinent. The human mouth is one of the dirtiest organic holes in nature. The normal flora consists of all kinds of nasty bugs. The last date you guys went on, did you kiss? What are the chances she has engaged in oral sex with another individual in the past?, that she has a history of IV drug use?("I did it just that once!"), TB exposure?, chronic hepatitis B?, or herpes?(you did know people shed the virus without having sores didn't you?). The point? You always need to take REASONABLE precautions- socially and professionally. Reasonable being a key word.
By the way the CDC has not stated that you could not contract HIV from saliva, just that it is very, very unlikely.
Think about this. The individual who is lying there has about 5 minutes. Less time than it takes to get to a phone and the medics to arrive. You are their chance for survival. If CPR is not started by a bystander the chance for survival is negligible. Your chance for contracting a terrible disease from helping them is also so small as to be negligible(insert common sense here). Hey, it may be as easy as opening their airway.
Make a decision but let it be an informed decision, not one based on paranoia or fear. To save a life- it is a beautiful thing(IMHO).
Of course, it is your decision.