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Swallowing blood/saliva
Apr 5, 1999

Is it possible to contract HIV by sawllowing blood and or saliva? When you have no sores or open wounds inside your mouth.

Response from Dr. Reznik

You ask an interesting question that should be separated into two separate queries:

Is it possible to contract HIV by swallowing saliva? The answer to this question is no. This is why casual contact, such as sharing food utensils and glasses or deep kissing is not considered a risk for transmission of HIV.

HIV is viable within blood or blood products, so the answer to the other part of your question, whether it is possible to contract HIV by swallowing blood when you have no "visible" open sores or wounds are present within your mouth, is not as simple an answer. Many factors are involved in this question such as the amount of blood, the viral load present in the blood and whether or not there are micro-cuts within the GI tract. There have been 24 documented cases of oral transmission of HIV which can be reviewed in the table present in the oral transmission article which appears in the Oral Manifestation Section of the HIVdent Internet Project ( ).

I hope this information proves helpful.


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