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Passing HIV to Children
May 18, 2000

I have recently found out that I am HIV positive. I have been married for 8 years and have never had any sexual contact other than with my husband and neither of us use IV drugs or have other risk factors (blood transfusions, etc). We have a baby that is 1 and a half years old. Our baby has not tested positive. Is it possible to spread the disease to our baby? Is there behavior we should avoid? I know that there are no known cases of HIV/AIDS from saliva, however HIV is present in mucous membranes. Knowing how close a small child can get, should we be careful with things like sneezing, kissing, sharing food, etc.?

Is there any risk in exchange of mucous membranes?

Response from Dr. Jackson

If your baby has tested negative more than 4-6 weeks after taking AZT after birth and you have not been breast feeding, your baby is very unlikely to be HIV infected especially 1.5 years later.

The risk of transmitting HIV to another person through sneezing, dry kissing, and sharing food is extremely small or nearly zero according to household contact studies of HIV-infected individuals who live with other family members who are not their sexual partners. However,your baby should avoid exposure to your saliva, breast milk, and blood to minimize any risk of transmission.

Brooks Jackson, M.D.

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