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I may have eaten food already chewed by a person who is HIV positive

Mar 27, 2014

A friend has been diagnosed with HIV. He was over for dinner and he had meat left on his plate. I was cutting up the left over pieces to feed to my dog and I ended up eating some if them without thinking. He may have chewed some of those pieces and put them back on the plate as I remember some of the meat I was feeding the dogs had gristle on it. Am I at risk? I know there is a chance to pass HIV to infants through pre chewed food, what about in adults. I woke up one night terrified over this. Should I get tested? I have had sex with my husband since this incident, should he get tested as well?

Response from Dr. Hightow-Weidman

Hello there Yes, theoretically there is a very small chance of acquiring HIV infection through eating chewed food. TO my knowledge this has only been seen in infants who had very inflamed gums (likely related to teething) and received food from mothers who also had bleeding gums. It has been suggested that it might be necessary for both the caregiver who pre-chewed food and the child to have inflammation or open sores in the mouth for the virus to be transmitted. Your risk of acquiring HIV is virtually non existent but certainly getting tested is a reasonable thing to do. My belief is that you will be negative and this may give you peace of mind. Take care, DR W

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