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lymph system
Sep 18, 2002

hi dr keith, if hiv fluid were to have contact with tonsils or was hooked in by the adenoid gland (orally), is it scientifically possible for the hiv to then spread throughout the lymph system without even having to enter the blood stream? i realize this is very unlikely to occur, but technically speaking, could this take place?

Response from Dr. Henry

It is possible for HIV to enter the body through a portal in the oral cavity such as the tonsils though the risk through oral sex is generally low (increased perhaps if open sores present, poor oral hygiene, etc.). Once HIV has infected a macrophage or T-cell, it often travels to a lymph node where it can come into contact with many other cells as well. The virus can be carried within a cell throughout the body generally through the blood stream. Cells within the lymphatic drainage system ultimately re-enter the circulation so I would say that it would be very unusual for HIV to spread throughout the body without using the bloodstream as a conduit. KH

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