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Meal Assistant in Nursing Home
May 6, 1997

Can you contract AIDS through picking up an HIV-positive resident's drinking cup that has saliva on the side of it??

Response from Ms. Breuer

There are only four body fluids you could contact from a patient that could potentially be infectious (cause HIV transmission): blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. There are no cases of HIV infection from saliva. One of those four infectious fluids must have immediate contact with an open cut or a mucous membrane (in other words, a way into your bloodstream) to put you at risk of infection.

Because you are providing personal care for people, please always use latex gloves when you are handling blood, semen or vaginal fluids, or anything that has these fluids on it. But you do not need to worry about a drinking cup or any other object or surface with saliva on it.

- Nancy Breuer

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