Jun 25, 2001
Excuse my ignorance, I recently read that orasure test for HIV antibodies in saliva. I know that HIV CAN NOT be transmitted by saliva, so what's the difference between HIV and HIV antibodies? thank you
Response from Mr. Kull
Orasure--HIV antibody testing that uses a swab to collect fluid from your mouth--does not test for antibodies in saliva, but for antibodies in a fluid in your mouth called oral mucosal transudate. Because antibodies are present in oral fluid does not mean that enough HIV is present to cause infection. See my response to "Testing Saliva" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Current/Q39192.qna) for information about Orasure testing.
It is important to pay close attention to the language used when talking about HIV transmission and prevention. For instance, there is a big difference between "HIV cannot be transmitted through contact with saliva" and "HIV is not transmitted through contact with saliva." HIV can be isolated in the saliva of some infected people, but in small amounts. Inhibiting factors in saliva may also render HIV inactive. Since HIV may be present in saliva, it is always possible that HIV could be transmitted through contact with saliva (that's when we say transmission is THEROETICALLY possible). However, when we look at the statistics, there is no evidence that HIV has ever been transmitted through contact with saliva. This is strong evidence that HIV IS NOT transmitted through saliva in the real world.
Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS
This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.
Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.