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Infectiousness of Hepatitis-B/HIV during acute infection
Nov 13, 2000

Dear Doctor

I read somewhere that Hepatitis-B is extremely infectious (100 times more than HIV) mainly because the viral load is much higher.

During acute HIV infection the viral load of HIV can be 1000 times higher (I believe) than later on. Does that imply that during acute infection HIV is just as infectious (or even more) than Hepatitis-B ?

I also read that occasionally it happens that people living in the same household as somebody with Hepatitis-B catches the disease just from casual everyday non-sexual contact. Could the same happen with HIV if the person having HIV was in the stage of acute infection?

Do you think a person with acute HIV infection could transmit the virus to somebody else by sharing the same bathroom? What if the hand soap/sink/water tap became contaminated by small amounts (maybe not even visible) of blood with a very high viral load?

I really appreciate your answer. Thanks!

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Hepatitis B can be rarely transmitted in households, but probably from wounds or razors that involve blood. HIV would have to transmitted in the same way, blood to blood exchange. The likelihood of HIV surviving on a bar of soap is vanishingly small. DTD



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