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Tingling in feet and fingers
Nov 18, 1996

When recently giving blood at UCLA, I was told that there had been one confirmed and one unconfirmed case of HIV being passed through saliva. Have you heard anything about this?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

I have never seen or heard of any documented cases of HIV transmission through saliva. The person at UCLA may have confused this with a case of HIV transmission by a person getting bitten. There was one case of HIV transmission after a person got a bite from another person where the bite broke the skin. However, in this case, the person doing the biting had visible blood in their mouth. In this biting incident, it was blood-to-blood transmission, NOT saliva-to-blood transmission. The concentrations of the HIV virus in saliva are so low, that although theoretically possible, the risks of transmission are realistically very remote, and to date, there have not been any documented cases of HIV transmission through saliva. However, if there were to be blood in the saliva (as was the case with the biting incident discussed above), then there would be a risk. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS



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