The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Choosing Your MedsChoosing Your Meds
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

HIV vs. FIV vs. SIV...
Aug 22, 2005

Dear Dr. Wohl:

I know this question isn't in your "category", but, it isn't in any category active or inactive and I have come to respect and trust your feedback on this site. So, I ask you the question (and bear with me as you read along, you'll understand my rationale by the end).

My question is, can someone with HIV transmit it to a cat and it become FIV in the cat (due to scratches or bites which draw blood) or vice versa? I know this may sound like an odd question but I ask because my cat is FIV- and I am HIV+. Sometimes when we play he "loses himself" and draws a bit of blood from me with his claws or teeth (rarely the latter). I recently thought of this question in fear of giving my cat H/FIV (I just adopted this cat in December '04 and haven't had a cat since I've been HIV+). As odd as this question seems, didn't HIV originate in primates (monkeys?) either by bites or by organs used from them for polio vaccines? If so, then it seems that SIV crossed species. So, can that happen between a cat and a person? Also, what other animals suffer from their own species strain of HIV?


Response from Dr. Wohl

This definitely goes into the Miscelaneous category (no pun intented: CATegory!).

I don't think it is likely to work this way. The whole monkey-human origin is based on the incredible similarity of Siamian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) and HIV. In fact there is very little difference between SIV and HIV-2, an HIV type that is found in Western Africa.

FIV and HIV share less in common, as their hosts are quite different. So you pose little risk to Morris.

On the other hand, getting scratched and bit by a cat is a really bad idea. As fastidious as they are, their mouths and claws are often contaminated by nasty germs that cause significant problems even for people with normal immune systems. Get some good leather gloves and rough house safely. No glove, no kitty love!


Nausea & Vomiting

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint