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HIV transmission between children
Dec 31, 1998

I'm researching the topic of HIV and transmission between children who are playmates and/or classmates. I have not found any documented cases of an infected child transmitting the virus to someone else, even a sibling. I am a teacher and would like to be able to argue for having children who are infected remain in school. I need as many facts as I can get. Also, is there an actual figure on what the chances of transmission through a bite would be? Thanks.

Response from Ms. Breuer

This is an important question. You are right; there are no documented cases of transmission between children, to my knowledge. The December 1997 CDC AIDS Surveillance Report, figure 7, lists 2 children who were exposed to HIV-infected blood in a household setting and 10 who were infected by an adult. The law is on your side; several rulings under the ADA have made it clear that a school may not exclude a child who has HIV for that reason. The biting scenario is unlikely, and if you think about it, the person at risk is the biter, not the bitee. Getting blood in the mouth is a potential exposure to the whole range of bloodborne viruses, of which HIV is the most difficult to transmit. No, there are no calculations on the risk that I know of; we'd have to call it theoretical risk at this point. There is no sound reason to remove an HIV+ child from school just because of HIV. You can get more help from the CDC National AIDS Hotline, 1.800.232.4636.

Nancy Breuer


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