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saliva in the eye

Apr 9, 2002

I recently met a friend's partner, who contracted HIV approximately 15 years ago. He had full-blown AIDS then, but has since recovered (it's been more than 10 years now) thanks to the new cocktail drugs. The other day, I was speaking with him, and let's just say he's a close talker. His saliva hit me in the eye. Since there are traces of HIV in the saliva, and the eye's mucous membrane makes it capable of absording his saliva, what risk do I have of contracting the disease in that way? Is there enough HIV in the saliva to infect me via the eye? Also, does the cocktail mix he's taking actually reduce the amount of HIV in his body, thus making the amount of HIV in his saliva and blood less potent than when he had full-blown AIDS? Or does he still have lots of HIV in his blood, despite the effective drugs he's taking? In other words, what do the cocktail drugs do to the HIV in patients who have suffered from full-blown AIDS? Does the virus just float around in the blood, even with the cocktail drugs? Or does HIV reduce in quantity in the blood and saliva and hide somewhere in other parts of the body, like the lymph nodes? In other words, can HIV live long in the blood if the cocktail mix is blocking it from entering the white blood cells? Sorry for the long multi-part question.

Response from Mr. Kull

HIV is not known to be transmitted solely through contact with saliva...period. The fact that he was on antiviral medication in this case is irrelevant, because saliva is not known to be a vehicle for transmission in any case. More importantly, HIV is not transmitted through the air (airborne): it is known to be transmitted through sexual, blood to blood, and mother to infant contact.

See my response to Saliva as a Barrier.


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