Risk of HIV through sputum


It is well known that HIV positive persons typically also have detectable amounts of viruses in sputum. But how much, are we speaking about roughly 1 to 10 pr ml, 50 to 500 pr ml, 10 to 5000?


Thank you for your question. Sputum (a combination of saliva and respiratory secretions which are coughed up) does not normally contain significant concentrations of HIV, unless is it visibly contaminated with blood. So normally the risk for HIV from sputum alone is low. However, since sputum can contain other infectious diseases, care should be taken to avoid direct contact with sputum from a person, regardless of their HIV status.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).