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Paper Cut (TEARS)
Oct 22, 2006

I was recently working with a child who is HIV positive. The child had to receive vaccinations and was crying. As i consoled her, i wiped tears from her face, forgetting that I had a rather deep paper cut on my finger from the day before. Can HIV be transmitted this way?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Can tears transmit HIV? Ahhhh . . . another QTND (Question That Never Dies). No, HIV cannot be transmitted by tears, saliva, sputum, sweat, urine, vomitus, nasal mucous or feces, unless they contain visible blood.

I'll reprint some posts from the archives that address this topic.

Dr. Bob

HIV + Jul 25, 2006

Can HIV be tramitted through cuts in skin when contaminated by a person's sweat who is HIV positive.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Another QTND (question that never dies!). Here we go, one more time. HIV cannot be transmitted by tears or sweat. Period. End of story. No matter what that moron Bill Frist says. (See below.)

Get informed. Stay safe. Stay well. Vote to get rid of Bill Frist and other Republican doofuses!

Dr. Bob

Politics and HIV

Apr 16, 2006

Dear Dr. Frascino;

Thank you for all of your encouragement and insight

What is this ridiculous news I heard of about Senator Frist claiming HIV can be spread through tear drops ? I am, as are most of us, fed up with the ignorance in America, and it being perpetuated by schools no longer wanting speakers on the topic of HIV prevention. We are soo far behind the rest of the world in HIV awareness. We need help! Thank you so much, Respectfully, Bill

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

This ludicrous and irresponsible claim was made by Frist a few years ago, but it still comes up form time to time. I'll reprint an article about it below.

It wasn't his only example of medical ineptitude. Remember the Terry Schiavo fiasco? Frist claimed she was not in a persistent vegetative state and that she was responding to visual stimuli after he reviewed video footage! The medical autopsy showed Ms. Schiavo's brain was "profoundly atrophied" and "the vision centers of her brain were dead." This means she was blind and therefore certainly not responding to visual stimuli. Of course, one can see why Frist might have hoped that someone with only half a brain would recover. I mean look at our current "Presidunce." Certainly one could argue he probably doesn't even have half of a functioning brain.

Can you believe Frist actually wants to run for President?!

As for the shocking lack of accurate age-appropriate sex education in U.S. public schools, I absolutely agree with you. It's shameful and dangerous. In order to effect a change, I strongly encourage everyone to get involved with local PTA groups and their local school boards. Change will only happen when we demand it. It's my hope that when someone like "Dr." Frist states tears can transmit HIV/AIDS, every high school student in the country will know he's a doofus who should be sent back to Sex Ed 101 classes.

Dr. Bob

Health Organizations and AIDS Organizations Denounce Sen. Frist's Inaccurate and Harmful Comments about HIV Transmission, Condom Effectiveness For Immediate Release: December 10, 2004

For More Information: Jodi Jacobson, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), jjacobson@genderhealth.org, 301-270-1182 Asia Russell, ACT UP Philadelphia, (267) 475-2645

Sponsor Organization: Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

AIDS Activists Demand Apology and Retractionor Resignation

________________________________________ AIDS organizations and people living with HIV/AIDS today demanded Sen. Frist (R-TN), the Senate Majority Leader and a medical doctor, apologize for and retract inaccurate statements regarding HIV transmission made on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" December 5, 2004. After telling Stephanopoulos he "didn't know" if HIV could be transmitted through tears or sweat, Dr. Frist went on to say that transmission of HIV through tears or sweat "would be very hard .... I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat but in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard." (NOTE: full transcript pasted below.)

But according to the Centers for Disease Control, "[c]ontact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV."

"A doctor takes an oath to do no harm," said Waheedah El-Shabazz, a person living with HIV from ACT UP Philadelphia. "A simple 'no' was the responsible answer. We are working on the front lines, trying to correct dangerous myths about HIV transmission. But Dr. Frist's comments endorse these myths and undermine our efforts to protect people from HIV infection. He should be sent back to medical school if he can't get his facts straight about HIV transmission."

In 2004 alone the Bush Administration's spent $170 million in the U.S. and $86 million in developing countries on "abstinence only" prevention programs. Recent analysis by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has shown these programs teach inaccurate and misleading information.

(See: http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/investigations.asp?Issue=Public+Health )

According to the activists, Dr. Frist was so unwilling to be seen calling the veracity of those Administration-endorsed programs into question, he refused to provide a clear answer. "Unfortunately the Bush Administration is not only using public money to spread inaccurate HIV prevention information at home and abroadpoliticians like Dr. Frist are also bending over backwards to reinforce these dangerous myths," said Jodi Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE).

During the interview Dr. Frist also stated that condoms have a "15% failure rate," another inaccurate comment. According to peer-reviewed studies, consistent and correct condom use is associated with a much smaller failure rate, about 2%. For people who use condoms inconsistently or incorrectly, failure rates can reach 13%.

--BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) Okay, let me switch to another subject. There was a bit of an uproar in Washington this week about this issue of these abstinence programs that are funded by the Federal government, the funding has doubled over the last four years but there was a report by the minority staff at the House Government Affairs Committee that showed that 11 of 13 of these programs are giving out false information. I want to show some of the claims they identified in the curricula. One of them was, one of the programs taught that "The actual ability of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, even if the product is intact, is not definitively known." Another, "The popular claim that condoms help prevent the spread of STDs is not supported by the data." A third suggested that tears and sweat could transmit HIV and AIDS. Now, you're a doctor. Do you believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

SENATOR BILL FRIST

I don't know. I can tell you ...

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) You don't know?

SENATOR BILL FRIST

I can tell you things like, like ...

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) Well, wait, let me stop you, you don't know that, you believe that tears and sweat might be able to transmit AIDS?

SENATOR BILL FRIST

Yeah, no, I can tell you that HIV is not very transmissible as an element like, compared to smallpox, compared to the flu.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) No, let's talk. I want to talk about all of it.

SENATOR BILL FRIST

But about, about condoms, for example. We know there's about a 15 percent failure rate. You know, this is a deadly virus and you know it is directly transmissible with a relatively high degree of infectivity by, by sexual relations. If there's a 15 percent failure rate in, in condoms ...

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) But this was suggesting that they don't work even if the condom is intact.

SENATOR BILL FRIST

Oh, I know. But, but let me just say because the whole, the whole success, if you look in Africa today where as you know 28 million people are infected today is on this ABC, abstinence which is sort of the initial thrust itself which is the only way to prevent, only way to prevent.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) Only surefire way.

SENATOR BILL FRIST

That's right. Only surefire. Very hard culturally in lots of approaches. Being faithful. Again, one partner and in certain cultures that is very hard and, then third, condoms. If you take out just condoms and say that is the answer with the 15 percent failure rate with a highly infective virus through sexual relations ...

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) These are suggesting that they're really never the answer.

SENATOR BILL FRIST

No, well, clearly. I'm telling you that the proposal that the Federal government supports is officially this A, B, C approach, we put $15 billion into this, what I would regard as one of the great moral and public health tragedies of the last 100 years, probably HIV/AIDS.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) But do you think these abstinence programs should be reviewed and that they should be required to give out scientifically accurate information?

SENATOR BILL FRIST

Oh, I think of course they should be reviewed, I mean, and that's in part our responsibility to make sure that all of these programs are reviewed but whether it's abstinence or whether it's condoms or whether it is better education on the infectivity of how washing hands in terms of the flu, all of these are public health challenges that we need in terms of better education, yes, the government has a role, especially if we're gonna be ...

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) Let me just, I wanted to move to another subject, let me just clear this up, though. Do you or do you not believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

SENATOR BILL FRIST

It would be very hard. It would be very hard for tears and sweat, I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat but in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

(Off Camera) Okay, let me turn to one final subject, steroids...

Is Saliva HIV transmiter...Question that never dies... Oct 20, 2006

Hi dr Bob,

It is really magnificient what u do in order to help people...i think it is a lot of positive karma for u!!!

Man, i have a fear. I had an oral sex with a guy, he gave me his condom (it was good one not to make the advertisment here, but i havent checked the expiry date). He sucked me off and i was cuddling his face during the intercourse. The thing which I am concerned about is that i had a small open skin lesion on my finger, and i am affraid that i came in touch with his saliva while i was removing the condom or while cuddling his face....I had condom protected oral sex, short one, but is it possible to get infected if his saliva touched my wound on the finger(the skin was missing from this part of finger , but the wound was made one day ago)....

Please answer to me, i am so stressed..Why those things have to spoil nice sex...PS: I tested the condom afterwards , and no water was going through it, so it remained undamaged(except if there was a microdamage , while he handled itin his pockets or whatever)

Please answer me...i am so stressed...i am writing a PhD and have to work a lot now, but this stress makes it inpossible... In waiting your answer desperately...Big Huggs

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You are correct: yours is a QTND (Question That Never Dies). The thing about QTND is that they have ATNC (Answers That Never Change). Consequently I'll just repost several questions from the archives about saliva. If you have questions about oral sex in general, condom integrity or efficacy or transmission from superficial day-old wounds, answers are readily available in the archives. Have a look!

Bottom line: I'd say your HIV risk is virtually nonexistent and all your stress, completely unwarranted. Now get back to work on that Ph.D. That thesis isn't going to write itself!

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Do they know as much as they say they do? Sep 1, 2006

Dear Dr. F, I recently move to NYC and work as a waitress in Chelsea. I'm constantly touching glasses with salavia on them and always have open scratches on my hand because of my 2 cats. I recentley had a bad case of the flu with a tempature at 99.0 for 3 days and diarreah that has lasted for over a week. What if my cut came in perfect contact with an HIV infected persons salavia. Is it 100% safe to touch an HIV infected persons salavia to a open scratch or is it totally impossible? Are there scientific facts that it does not transmit this way or are we just assuming and hoping you can't get it from salavia. I'm ready to quit my job and work as a receptionist. Something tells me in my heart that they don't know as much as they say they do and maybe it varies from one person to the next. Does this make any sense to you? Please help

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Chelsea-Gal,

Saliva (or, as you call it, "salavia") does not transmit HIV. And since you work in Chelsea, I better cover other non-transmitters as well. See archive post below.

How do we know these facts? Well, Dearie, as it turns out, HIV/AIDS has been intensively studied for the past 25 years. If it were transmitted by touching a glass, don'cha think we woulda noticed by now????

You have as much chance of catching HIV from the spit on those martini glasses as you would from the copy machine if you worked as a receptionist (read: no risk). OK?

Stay well. Stop worrying. And can I get an order of fries with that?

Dr. Bob

hiv in nasal mucus?

Aug 12, 2006

Dear dr. Frascino, does nasal mucus contain HIV and can an accidental ingestion of nasal mucus of a person with HIV and not on HAART be at risk? Thank you!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Nasal secretions similar to saliva, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, vomitus and feces are not implicated in the transmission of HIV, unless they contain visible blood.

Out of curiosity, how did you mange to "accidentally" chow down some HIV positive boogers?

Dr. Bob

hiv in saliva? Jan 11, 2006

on new years day, i got a blowjod from an escort, she put a condom on, but later took it off so i could cum, when i couldnt, she put it back on and continued sucking, what worries me is the possibility of her saliva getting on my penis as she put it back on,

ive heard that its impossible to get hiv from saliva, but i dont know if she had any cuts in her mouth, and if so, would i be in danger?

the following day, i began feeling an uncomfortable minor pain in my lower abdomen and lower back, ive also been having trouble passing gas and taking a dump, are these symptoms? or do am i just constipated?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

What's a "blowjod?" Sounds kind of kinky.

Regarding HIV, relax, Dude! You are fine except that the worry and fear of HIV have scared the crap out of you. Or should that be scared the crap not out of you?

Stay well. Try a laxative if your plumbing is still plugged up.

Dr. Bob



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