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Can saliva spread HIV?

Sep 21, 2000

Dear Mr Kull,

Can saliva spread HIV? What if a HIV+ kid shares a pacifier or milk bottle with an uninfected child? What are the risks of catching the disease from a childcare centre where children drip saliva and mucous on shared toys?

Hope you're able to answer this question as I'm quite concerned about sending my child to a child care centre.


Concerned Parent

Response from Mr. Kull

There have been no reported cases of HIV transmission between children. It is possible that HIV could be transmitted by saliva, but all of the statistics and studies that we have show us that it does not happen. HIV in infected people's saliva is usually in very low quantities (not enough to infect another person). There is also evidence that saliva has protective factors that inactivate HIV when the virus comes into contact with saliva. Also, HIV is fragile: it will generally not survive in the environment longer than a few minutes.

Sending your child to a day care center should pose no risk for HIV infection.


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