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Mar 16, 2013

Hello. My family moved to Lagos, Nigeria 4 years ago and almost upon arrival, we saw monkeys in the trees in our compound. Apparently, the newly developed housing estate we live in was formerly a jungle forest inhabited by these monkeys, and some packs of them were still around going from house to house living in and feeding off the fruit and seed bearing trees in the estate. I have 2 large dogs that watched them and barked at them constantly. One day, one of the monkeys fell off a mango tree in our backyard and my dogs attacked it. Other monkeys from the pack jumped down and joined the fight and by the time it was over, all 3 monkeys and both my dogs had very deep bite and scratch wounds -- there was blood everywhere. I took my dogs to the vet and they both required stitches in multiple areas of their bodies. I have always read and heard that monkeys carry an animal form of HIV naturally in their blood. Is this true, and if so, could my dogs have been infected? I'm not even sure what type of monkeys they were, but they were about the size of a toddler.

My problem now is that 4 years later, one of my dogs has bitten my housekeeper and the bite was deep enough to draw blood? Is she in any danger of HIV infection, whether in animal or human form? Also, is there a blood test to determine if a dog is infected?

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for your question,

But there is absolutely no risk of humans getting HIV from the situation you're talking about.

Humans can only get HIV from other humans (in limited ways).

The theories that you're referring to about HIV originating from monkeys involved a very specific set of circumstances (if that's even how HIV started in humans, the jury's still out on that one). Besides, HIV is species specific. That means that each species has their own version of the virus that only infects that species. For example "Feline AIDS" only infects cats not other creatures. Therefore there's no chance that HIV jumped from these monkeys to your dog to your housekeeper!

Hope this helps!


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