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can hiv +persons with undetected viral loads transmit virus
Nov 27, 2000

My question is one that stems from an incident where my child reopened a sore on her father who was diagnosed with full blown aids 1 1/2 ago . She reopened the sore by picking at it . His viral load at this time was undetectable ,is she still at risk for hiv if contaminated blood came in contact with a cut ,scratch ,or eyes ,mouth or nose , Her father seems to think not , I feel that he is wrong your thoughts would be most helpful

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Transmission of HIV from the exposure you describe, would be extremely unlikely. Although recent papers have described no transmission of HIV heterosexually, when one person was infected with a viral load <1,500/ml and the other person was not infected, the blood plasma viral load is only one compartment of blood where HIV can be. In other words, even if the viral load in blood is undetectable, there still may be virus inside infected cells that is capable of transmitting the virus. This could occur from transfusions, needle sharing, or vaginal/anal sex. It would be unlikely to occur from skin or mucous membrane contact around the face.

MH



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