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Bed bugs and transmission
Aug 11, 2008

We have a serious bed bug infestation problem in Vancouver Canada. Bed bugs feast on blood. Can bed bugs be transmitters of HIV? For instance, if a hotel bed has these bugs and bite an HIV+ guest, can they transmit HIV to the next guest who stays in that room?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

As I frequently (constantly?) suggest, if questioners would check the archives, over 90% of them would find the information or reassurance they are searching for. You are yet another prime example! See below.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

HIV and BED bugs/discordant couple Dec 11, 2005

My partner is positive and I am currently negative. I am rather comitted to staying negative though I am more committed to my life with the man I love. With all of this talk in the news about bedbugs lately, I got curious and did some quick research. I found that these bedbugs prey exclusively on human blood and actually, it seems they are perfectly designed for vector transmission of various diseases. The research shows that they have never been shown to transmit, however. It also seems that the main reason they have not been transmitting blood bourne is that after they draw your blood, they retire to rest or hybernate for a week or more during which time the disease agents outside of the human body die. Because bedbugs have not been a huge problem in recent years, not much has been considered in my opinion of the possibility of transmission between people who sleep together of a number of diseases. Hepatitis B seems like a perfect disease for this bug to pick up from a person and pass to the partner by biting before its hybernation period in the night. Hepatitis C might fit this as well as far as I can tell. Why not HIV or other serious infections? Isnt this something we should be watching?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The possibility that HIV could be spread by insect vectors, like bedbugs (yuk) or mosquitoes actually has been studied quite thoroughly. Although the science is complicated, the bottom line is not. HIV is not spread by insects, including bedbugs, mosquitoes or other creepy, crawly nasties. (The same hold true for the hepatitis viruses as well.)

So sleep tight and don't let . . . well, you know.

Dr. Bob



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