HIV Can Be Transmitted Through Pre-Chewed Food, Researchers Say
February 7, 2008
HIV can be transmitted to infants through food that is pre-chewed by an HIV-positive parent or caregiver, CDC researchers said Wednesday at the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, the New York Times reports. Specific findings from the study have not been released, the Times reports.
All three of the children were teething and had inflamed gums when they contracted the virus. According to the researchers, it might be necessary for both the caregiver who pre-chewed food and the child to have inflammation or open sores in the mouth for the virus to be transmitted (AP/Google.com, 2/6). The researchers said that pre-chewing as a mode of HIV transmission "warrants further investigation in order to continue reducing cases of HIV transmission in the U.S.," adding that the findings "could have more significant implications for developing countries." The researchers advised health care providers and HIV-positive caregivers to be aware of the risks of pre-chewing. They also advised caregivers living with HIV/AIDS to not pre-chew food for infants (Reuters, 2/6). The researchers also said that they reported the three cases in an effort to ask health care providers and family members to report suspected cases to officials to quantify the situation (New York Times, 2/7).
Kimberly Hagen of the Emory Center for AIDS Research said that programs in developing nations aimed at reducing pre-chewing among HIV-positive caregivers could be nutritionally harmful for infants. "This would really take a lot of thinking before you could say, 'We've had three cases in 11 years, so you have to stop pre-chewing your child's food,'" Hagen said (AP/Google.com, 2/6).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.