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Child's Casual Contact with HIV infected person
Sep 16, 2009

Hi, Every week, I bring my two year old with me to visit my grandmother. My cousin also lives with her and is HIV positive. I learned this a few months ago, when he started receiving treatment after actually being categorized as having AIDS. He is doing much better and is now on medication. I was still a little nervous about him holding my son, and my son playing and eating in their household. This is also because he has had recurring staph infections. I did some research and confirmed that casual contact shouldn't pose him any risk to HIV. But to make myself feel more at ease, I brought this issue up with my pediatrician. She seemed disapproving of me bringing my son to visit there and said that most things I mentioned should be fine, but it would be better if I could find someone else to watch my son when I go. (But then my grandmother wouldn't be able to see my son.) Our pediatrician said over and over to watch out for secretions since she didn't know what stage of the disease my cousin was in. I was taken aback and didn't even think to ask specifically what she was talking about. I was really just looking for reassurance, and now am very bothered by this. Was this medical advice or her personal views? The rest of my family will not bring their children to the house. I am trying to be realistic and not overly paranoid. But I still feel uneasy. The thing I am most worried about is that my son got a hold of my cousin's toothbrush and put it in his mouth. I don't think he had it there long and it wasn't wet. What I thought about is what if my cousin has bleeding gums, but then also I realize that the virus couldn't live for long outside the body. What was my pediatrician warning me about with watching out for secretions? What kind of precautions should I take with my son visiting the house, if any? Should I be at all concerned? Thank you!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. Period.

It's unfortunate that your pediatrician frightened us so unnecessarily. She is obviously misinformed about HIV-transmission risk. The only "secretion" to be at all concerned about would be fresh blood. And even that would have to come into contact with a fresh wound on your son. The chances of this occurring are obviously remote at best. I'll reprint below some information from the archives that addresses casual contact and HIV. You can find additional information in the archives in the chapter on HIV nonsexual transmission. The toothbrush incident was also not a risk for HIV transmission, as it was dry and no blood was involved.

Finally, I should mention the recurrent staph infections could be a problem for you and your son, particularly if your cousin has the methicillin resistant type. He should keep all affected areas well covered when you visit. Frequent and thorough hand washing is advisable. And if you or your son have any scrapes or cuts, those areas should be covered with a bandaid as well.

I encourage you not to close Granny or your cousin out of your and your son's lives. It's unfortunate that the rest of your family is sequestering the children unnecessarily. Please share the information you've garnered with them. Hopefully they will realize their fears are unwarranted.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Grandfather and HIV (CASUAL CONTACT, 2009) Mar 25, 2009

My mom said to email you, I'm 15 and just found out my grandpa has HIV. I'm so scared because my grandpa hugs/holds me for LONG periods of time(like 5 minutes), he also ALWAYS kisses my face, cheeks and when he's hugging/holding me, he kisses the top of my head. My mom says to stop worrying, and I want to get tested now! She said I'm ridiculous and that I'm worried for nothing. This is why she showed me this website. My grandpa used to share drinks with me and hot chocolate from those to go cups from donut places. This was before I knew he had HIV. I'm not sure if any blood was on his lips when he kissed my face and top of head or if I had cuts on my face or head, or when he shared hot chocolate.

If I do get tested can i test 5 months after the last time he held/hugged me or kissed my face and top of head? Will this be definate enough at 5 months?

My mom says she will donate money to you on behalf of me. I don't want to be afraid of my own grandpa!! Please help me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your mom is right about this issue! Your fears are completely unwarranted. HIV testing is neither needed nor recommended. HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact, like hugging, holding, kissing, sharing drinks or food with, or living in the same home with someone who has HIV. (See below.) So many kids would love to have a grandpa who loves them like your does. Not only should you not be afraid of your grandpa; you should stop being so self-centered and selfish and love him back! Yes, at 15 it's time for you to grow up. HIV is real and your grandpa has it. He needs (and deserves) your love, not your irrational fear. Check out the information below and then go give Gramps a big hug and kiss from me, OK?

Dr. Bob

New Friends have HIV (HIV TRANSMISSION, CASUAL CONTACT) Jul 30, 2008

My wife met a nice couple and we have been hanging out with them. They told her when they first met that they are HIV positive. I know it is just my ignorance of this disease but I admit I'm a little nervous and I shouldn't be. I know most transfers come from sex and blood contact. I just want to make sure we are safe and learn all I can about this. Are there other things we should be on the lookout for when we are at their house or with them?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You're correct. You're a little nervous, but you shouldn't be!!! HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. See below. Also, check out the archives of this forum. We have an entire chapter devoted to nonsexual HIV prevention.

Enjoy your new friends. Don't let HIV spoil the party.

Dr. Bob

THANK YOU...you opended my mind (HIV TRANSMISSION, CASUAL CONTACT) Oct 23, 2007

I wrote to you about 3 to four days ago about my fear of contracting hiv by casual contact with my father. Well, I just want to thank you for making me see how wrong and uneducated I was by my behavior and HIV. I know now that with proper percautions I can stay negative but still give the love and support that my dad needs. Yes, if I ever were to contrat the virus I would not like to be descriminated against in any way and specially by my own family. Thank you, for making me understand that HIV is more that a virus...HIV is a virus that inhabits people as me and you. And, this people are heroes for not letting themselves get defested by this disease

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I very much appreciate your writing back! I'm delighted you now have a better understanding of what HIV is, what it means to those of us who are infected and how HIV is and is not transmitted. Please "pay it forward" by helping us increase HIV/AIDS awareness in others who may also benefit from such enlightenments. Give your dad a hug from me. OK?

Dr. Bob

PLEASE RESPOND! I'M OUT OF MY MIND! Oct 18, 2007

My father is a very promiscous man that likes to go to many strip joints and sleep around. He tested positive about 6 months ago and since then I' have lived in total panic. I'm afraid to have casual contact with him. Like every time I give him a kiss on the cheek I freak out if he has a a cut or something. Like today I gave him a kiss on the cheek not notesing that he has a rasor cut on his cheek with dry blood. Or what I think it was dry and I have had chapt lips for a while. So my question is how risky is that? thank you for your time

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Let's start with a very basic fact: HIV/AIDS is not transmitted by casual contact. Period! This basic information has been readily available for over a quarter of a century! Your comment, "I'm afraid to have casual contact with him," is alarming and disappointing. It demonstrates once again a significant lack of general and very basic HIV/AIDS knowledge! (I could also point out you have a significant lack of general spelling knowledge as well: promiscuous, not "promiscous;" noticing, not "notesing;" razor, not "rasor;" chapped, not "chapt;" etc., but that's another issue entirely!) I'd suggest you spend less time worrying and being freaked out and more time perusing the wealth of information on HIV/AIDS available on this site, its archives and its related links. I'll reprint some basic information from the archives below.

Your father needs and deserves your love and support, rather than your "total panic," as he copes with the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS. Being excessively judgmental and ill informed is certainly not helpful.

Dr. Bob

AIDSinfo What You Need to Know About HIV and AIDS

How HIV is Spread

The most common ways HIV is spread are: By having unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex with one who is infected with HIV

By sharing needles or syringes ("works") with someone who is infected with HIV

From mothers to their babies before the baby is born, during birth, or through breast-feeding. Taking the drug AZT during pregnancy can reduce the changes of infecting the baby by two-thirds, but will not prevent all babies from becoming infected with HIV.

Earlier in the AIDS epidemic some people became infected through blood transfusions, blood products (such as clotting factors given to people with hemophilia), or organ or tissue transplants. This has been very rare in the United States since 1985, when the test for HIV was licensed. Since then, all donated blood and donors of organs or tissue are tested for HIV. Health care workers, such as nurses, risk getting infected if they are stuck with a needle containing infected blood or splashed with infected blood in the eyes, nose, mouth, or on open cuts or sores. In a few cases, a person sharing a house with a person with HIV infection or taking care of a person with AIDS has become infected themselves. These infections may have been caused by sharing a razor, getting blood from the infected person into open cuts or sores, or some other way of having contact with blood from the infected person. If you are taking care of a person with HIV infection, carefully follow the steps on protecting yourself from infection discussed later.

How HIV is NOT Spread

You don't get HIV from the air, food, water, insects, animals, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, toilet seats, or anything else that doesn't involve blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk. You don't get HIV from feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit, unless these have blood mixed in them. You can help people with HIV eat, dress, even bathe, without becoming infected yourself, as long as you follow the steps described later in the section on "Protecting Yourself" later in this brochure. You do get other germs from many of the things listed above, so do use common sense.

Can a child contact HIV from a carrier who's "dads friend"? (CASUAL CONTACT, HIV BASICS) Dec 12, 2007

My daughters (5) and her father, is in a relationship with a girl who is a HIV Carrier on medication. Can the virus be given to my child? I want to make sure to protect her from getting it.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

First of all, there is no such thing as an "HIV carrier." Someone is either HIV positive (infected) or HIV negative (not infected).

Next, HIV is not transmitted by casual conduct and you should have no fears about your daughter visiting Dad, even if he is involved in a magnetic coupling (one poz plus one neggie). See below. I'll reprint some basic information about HIV from the archives.

Dr. Bob

Facts for Life What You and the People You Care About Need to Know About HIV/AIDS



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