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Sorry to ask
Jun 12, 2001

Ryan, sorry to ask a possibly silly question. But I have gum problems and my teeth bleed when I brush my teeth, and recently engaged in a deep kiss with someone who's status is unknown to me. The kiss might have lasted 15 secs. or less. Do I need a test or just better common sense? Please, please help.

Response from Mr. Kull

It is highly unlikely that you would get infected with HIV in the activity you describe, even with the condition of your gums. Unless your kissing partner had blood in his/her mouth, there is a very low risk for transmission. Even though HIV can be isolated in the saliva of infected people, it is unlikely that HIV is transmitted through saliva because of low concentrations and protective qualities of saliva. Regardless of the condition of YOUR gums, saliva probably won't infect you.

Most importantly, only one case of possible transmission through kissing has been investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the results of that investigation were inconclusive. This is the best evidence we have.

RMK



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