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HIV and Kissing The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions
Jan 9, 1997

Approximately 18 months ago, I came in contact with an individual who I kissed deeply with. No other type of sexual contact was performed. I have been racked with guilt about this and all I can think about is that I have been infected with HIV. I asked him if was ever tested for HIV and he said yes but that it was negative. The time frame of when he was tested was about 7 months after our contact. He works in health care and an AIDs patient vomited on him during his therapy treatment session. Standard testing following this type of exposure even if it was low, low risk is routine for a health care employee. I have no reason to not believe him. He said his girlfriend is still a virgin and he has not had sex with anyone in four years. I have not had any symptoms that would indicate that I have HIV. I did have some episodes of waking up at night and being real hot and just my chest was sweaty. I saw my internal medicine doctor numerous times and she worked me up for everything and everything was fine. I never ever have a fever when I wake up as I previously described. She said that true night sweats are a result of a fever and if I didn't have a fever, I was just probably just covering up to much. I get frequent colds but I work in a nursing home and have two kids in daycare who are always getting colds too. I am just beside myself. I am too afraid to get an HIV test because of confidentialty reasons, but I know in my heart that I probably don't have anything anyways. I think that I just am so anxious about it that I am losing my mind. What do you think about all of this? No blood was transmitted in the kissing and I did not have any type of cold sore or mouth sore to serve as an entry point. Thank you very much for your time.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. Simply put, HIV has never been transmitted by saliva, and nobody has ever been infected by kissing in the 15+ years that we have been tracking this epidemic. The concentrations of the HIV virus in saliva are so low, that nobody has ever been infected through saliva. So kissing is not considered a risk factor for HIV.

If you are "racked with guilt" about this for 18 months, then I do suggest you seek counseling. Counseling is helpful for people dealing with issues such as guilt, especially if the guilt is interfering with a persons everyday life, on an ongoing basis. So in your case, testing is not the solution to your problem. Counseling will provide much more help for you than testing will.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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