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HIV from saliva

Jun 26, 2008

HI DR Bob. You have touched on this fairly well but i cant sleep at night and am worried sick. While costructing an exhibition stand i may have got some of a workers saliva into a cut on my hand. In panic he agreed to a test and has tested possitive. My Wife is 5 months pregnant and this is causing major strain in the house. I have been placed on a 28 day course of combivir which is a cause for concern if there is no way of getting HIV from saliva. PLEASE can you shed some light so that i know where i stand.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Yes, I've covered this topic extensively of late. (A quick check of the archives will confirm this!) From an HIV perspective, saliva without the presence of visible blood is not considered to pose an HIV-transmission risk. I have no idea why you were started on a course of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). I disagree with that decision and do not feel PEP is warranted. As I have mentioned frequently in this forum, I encourage anyone who has had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant a course of PEP to be followed by an HIV specialist. The specialist would document your degree of HIV-acquisition risk, optimize (or in your case discontinue) PEP as indicated, evaluated and manage all PEP-related side effects and toxicities, evaluate and manage any intercurrent symptoms and finally arrange for and interpret all post-PEP follow-up testing. If you were to come to the Frascino Medical Group with the medical history you related in your post, you would be advised to discontinue PEP, as it was never warranted.

Dr. Bob

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