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Kiss Me Like You Mean It
Feb 11, 2002

Ryan: You do such an excellent job here! Thank you! My question is that age-old bugaboo: Can AIDS be transmitted via deep kissing? The CDC says there must be "visible" blood, which evokes -- at least to me -- a "Dracula" movie. I'm asking this because I had an intense kissing session (fully clothed) with a man who is positive. The next morning, my old panic set in. Is deep kissing safe? Possibly safe? Potentially risky. It's really all I want to do anymore, so I'm nervous....

Response from Mr. Kull

The important thing to remember is that there is no evidence that HIV has ever been transmitted through kissing. In fact, the only routes of transmission through "sexual" contact are anal, vaginal, and oral intercourse. So unless you are making out with Count Dracula himself, it is extremely improbable that you would become infected through kissing.

The saliva of infected people contains little to no virus, and the virus that is found in saliva is often inactive (not infectious). Studies have found that a protein in saliva inactivates HIV (up to 90% of virus was inactivated in one test tube study) and other factors that may contribute to the noninfectious quality of saliva. This is why transmission through kissing or receiving oral sex doesn't seem to occur.

Am I hearing that you are reluctant to have sex, and are limiting your sexual contact to kissing because of HIV fears? If that's the case, you may want to talk about your anxieties with a knowledgeable and compassionate person. Don't get me wrong: kissing is great, and if that's what gets you going, more power to you. But if you are limiting yourself because of HIV, there are ways to deal with your fears without sacrificing pleasure.

RMK

RMK



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