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question about chewing gum and hiv
Nov 25, 2009

Hi, I was sent here by my mom. she said you'd be able to help me out. My uncle just got diagnosed with hiv and since that ive been so afraid of it. here is my question, i was visiting my cousin's college campus and he took me in one of his classes. I pulled up a desk and felt a piece of gum someone had stuck under the desk. I had just cut my finger yesterday really bad with a knife (it was deep)

is there a risk if the person that had chewed the gum had hiv and bit their tongue or cheek then got blood on the gum and then i rubbed my finger on the gum and the blood got into my cut?

my mom says she will send you $20 so you can help, because she thinks i need to hear this from someone else because i wont listen to her. please help me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

HIV cannot be transmitted from pre-chewed gum. There are only a few ways HIV can be transmitted:

Sexual transmission. Unprotected sex between a person infected with HIV and an HIV-negative person.

Blood exposure. This can occur through injection drug use when an HIV-negative person shares syringes with an HIV-positive person. Blood-exposure transmission can also occur if an HIV-positive person is actively bleeding and fresh HIV-positive blood comes into contact with an open wound in an HIV-negative person. (This would involve blood-to-blood contact.) HIV can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, although this risk is virtually non-existent in places where the blood supply is screened for HIV.

Childbirth and breastfeeding. HIV-infected women can transmit HIV to their infants during childbirth or by breastfeeding.

HIV is not spread through contact with saliva, urine, sweat, feces or pre-chewed gum! And it is not transmitted by mosquitoes, exposure of blood/bodily fluids to intact skin, kissing, hugging, holding hands, handshakes, sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils, or mutual masturbation.

So, I'm siding with Mom on this one. No risk? OK? Don't be afraid of your uncle or of chewed gum. Once you learn the facts about HIV, it becomes much less scary.

Be well!

Dr. Bob



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