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Hiv, pets, transmission

Apr 30, 1997

I would like to know if there any possibilities that a dog can transmit Hiv/Aids to an human? Did pets can have Aids? I would like to have references about this subject. Thank you!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

The HUMAN Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is only transmitted from human to human. It is not transmitted by other animals (including pets) or mosquitoes (or any other insect). We have been studying the HIV virus for over 15 years now, and worldwide, not a single case of HIV has been linked to animals or insects.

You may have heard about other animals getting AIDS. There are other animals that can get AIDS, but they are caused by different viruses. For example, certain species of monkeys can get AIDS by a different virus called SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus). Cats can get AIDS by yet another virus called FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). FIV is different from Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). So far, no immunodeficiency virus has been found in dogs, although one research report in 1995 suggested that one may exist. There are other examples of AIDS-like diseases found in other animals. An important thing to remember is that all of these viruses are species specific. That means SIV will only be transmitted monkey to monkey, and will only cause illness in monkeys. FIV will only be transmitted cat to cat, and will only cause disease in cats, and so forth. In other words, if a persons cat is diagnosed with FIV, people living with the cat are not at any risk of getting AIDS from the cat. FIV is harmless to humans, but it can be very serious in cats.

In summary, HIV is strictly a human disease, and can only be transmitted human to human. There are other animal AIDS viruses in nature, but each is species specific, and is harmless to humans. Only the HUMAN Immunodeficiency Virus causes AIDS in humans, and other animals cannot transmit HIV to humans. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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