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Breast milk and oral transmission of HIV
Aug 5, 2000

Five weeks ago at a local bar a dancer offered her breast and like an idiot I took it in my mouth for a few seconds. Then I noticed a clear discharge on her nipple. I asked her if she was nursing and the answer was no. NO symptoms of initial HIV infection yet, however I am very anxious. I am a dentist and noticed 3 weeks later some aphthous ulcers in my mouth. One was under the tongue and the other of the buccal mucosa of #14. I am thinking it is possibly from stress etc. I took an RNA PCR quant. test two weeks after the incidence and the result was negative. Although negative ELISA was to early to indicate infection I still took it anyway and it was non reactive. Are my fears called for? I am very anxious and haven't had a good night sleep for 5 weeks.

Response from Dr. Reznik

The encounter you have described would not be considered a high risk exposure by any means. It is true that breast milk from mother to child can lead to transmission of HIV. What we need to factor into the equation is the type and length of the exposure. In your case, a minimal amount of breast milk may have been exposed to the soft tissues of your mouth, which if intact would provide protection. This is markedly different from a scenario in which an HIV infected mother would breast feed her infant. All in all my advice would be to get a good nights sleep and not worry about the encounter described.

Take care,

DR


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