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please answer
Feb 28, 2014

Hi doctor, a couple of months ago I shared a cigarette with an hiv positive friend, before I knew he was positive. I took a few drags from his cigarette. The reason I'm parranoid is because I don't remember if I had any cuts or sores on my lips. However, I normally do have chapped or flaky lips. I have heard that hiv patients sometimes have bleeding gums or sores in their mouths so this doesn't make me feel any better. What would be the chance of me actually gettinG infected this way and even if there was a small amount of blood on the butt of the cigarette, would the virus even survive once exposed to the air and on the cigarette? Your answer will really help me with my anxiety about this. Thank you doctor.

Response from Mr. Glenn

There is no risk of getting HIV from this. It is not possible to get HIV casually from another person.

Even if your lips were super cut up, your friend's lips would have needed to have been super cut up too!

It may be helpful to read up on our site about how HIV is actually transmitted. Sounds like your mind is running away with you.

People living with HIV deserve to live in a world where they can interact with others casually without the people around them reacting with irrational fear. It's great that you're learning more so that you're able to better support your friend.

Hope this helps,

Erik



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