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Newest Information on deep kissing
Jul 19, 2000

I'm HIV+ with an HIV- lover who is not comfortable with deep or open mouth kissing me. I miss it greatly but would never put him at undue risk. Unfortunately all the information I can find on HIV and kissing is a couple years old and I'm not sure how well to trust it. Can you please give me the latest scoop on how risky open mouth/deep kissing is.

Response from Mr. Kull

Here's the scoop: deep kissing is still a very low risk activity. I haven't seen any information, new or old, that convinces me that kissing isn't safe. The only documented case of possible transmission through kissing was reported in 1997 (read Kissing and HIV and Health Officials Say AIDS Passed by Kissing). In that case, HIV seemed to be transmitted through the presence of blood in the mouth. It is possible that HIV was transmitted through other factors, like oral sex.

One possible case of kissing transmission in the past two decades does not qualify as a meaningful risk. It's more like an unfortunate accident.

Being in a mixed-HIV-status (serodiscordant) relationship like yours can be stressful on both partners. Finding ways to be intimate with one another while feeling safe can be challenging and scary. Working through these obstacles can be rewarding. Be gentle on yourself and your partner and keep communicating. Try talking with other couples in your situation so that you don't feel alone in your struggle. Rob Remien's Mixed-HIV-Status Couples Forum could be helpful.

Kissing is important to you. Having your needs met in a relationship is vital. Ultimately, your partner will need to decide if he can accept taking this step with you.

RMK



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