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DEATH BY BREAST MILK
Dec 5, 2001

Dear Ryan

My only risk for HIV is sucking on the breasts and nipples of a high risk woman on a few occasions after a massage. I'm not sure if I swallowed any milk because all I remember is tasting my own saliva. What is the likelihood of dying from this activity? Is this considered infection through breast milk or sexual contact? I'm not so clear about the definitions. Thanks.

Response from Mr. Kull

To be precise, you won't die from sucking on a woman's breast; that's actually quite harmless. The issue is whether or not HIV is transmitted through oral contact with an infected woman's nipples/breast milk.

The only way HIV is known to be transmitted through breast milk is during the breast feeding of an infant. The contact with breast milk during sexual contact is presumably minimal and has never been implicated as a behavior associated with transmission.

Remember: HIV is known to be sexually transmitted through anal, vaginal and oral sex. No other sexual behaviors pose a real risk for infection.

RMK



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