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Am I at risk?
Apr 22, 2009

Hey there. First, just wanted to say thanks for all the work you guys/gals do on this site. I will be making a donation. So I had a question I've been trying to clear up for a while and can't quite get a definite answer. Hope you can help.

I ended up kissing someone the other night, HIV status unknown. When I had brushed the night before there was a tiny amount of bleeding from my gums. Oral health is in great condition, just brushed a bit too hard. No cuts or sores, just little irritation. There was no blood the day of or the time of the kiss. Again, no open wounds, cuts, or bleeding. And I had been drinking for a few hours (don't know if that has any significance).

Did I put myself at any risk. I did not taste any blood from the person and it was a very brief kiss..no more than 10 seconds, but a deep kiss nonetheless. I understand the risk is minimal, but I am getting super worried. What if there was a little bit of blood in their mouth or they had a cut or something? I know there is a "theoretical" risk, but am I at great risk or am I overreacting? Thanks so much for your insight. I am off to New Orleans for a week and won't have internet, so if I found out before I left it would make my trip. Thanks so much for your time.

Sincerely, K

Response from Dr. McGowan

Dear K.

Thanks for the compliments.

No, the scenario you describe would not place you at increased risk for HIV. Brushing from the night before without chronic sore gums or gingivitis does not increase chances of acquiring HIV since your mucous membranes are intact. Good luck in New Orleans...make sure you stay safe.

Joe



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