Spit in the Eye or Baby Sneeze?

Question

Dear Rick, Is it possible to get HIV from a child who has spit in your face and their sailiva gets in your eye, and you know that child was born a crack baby? Also, if you sit with a baby and they sneeze and their fluids make contact with your eyes? If I had contacted HIV in my eyes are there any symptoms as a result, that I may not be aware of that maybe an Eye Doctor can detect? What should I know? Also, if the baby who sneezed and you know the mother has an std, genital warts, should I get checked for an STD also? How is the genital warts spread, is it just through sexual encounter alone, or can it be like the aids virus, spread through bodily fluids? Thank you for your time,

Answer

Hi. Thank you for your question.

HIV is not transmitted by saliva. It is not transmitted through coughing, spitting, or sneezing. So even if this baby was infected with HIV, you would not be at risk from exposure to saliva through spitting, sneezing, or coughing.

You would have to be exposed directly to the baby's blood in order to become infected. If somehow the baby's blood got into your eyes (which would be a very unusual occurance), then there would be a risk of infection. The linings of the eyes are mucous membranes, and HIV would have an access to your bloodstream through these mucous membranes. The linings of the eyes can have microscopic cuts and abrasions, especially if you rub your eyes. If HIV were to enter your body through your eyes, it would not cause any specific symptoms in your eyes, that an eye doctor could detect. However, if you were exposed only to saliva (via coughing, sneezing, spitting, etc.), this is not considered risky for HIV, even if the saliva got into your eyes.

The HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus), which causes genital warts, is NOT transmitted through any form of casual contact, which includes swimming pools, hot tubs, showers etc. It is not transmitted by coughing, sneezing, spitting etc. This infection is transmitted by DIRECT physical contact with the infected area. In other words, it is transmitted by direct genital-to-genital contact, or direct genital-to-anal contact. As you can see, it is transmitted differently than HIV. Genital warts are found in the genital and anal areas of the body. For more information on how various STD's are transmitted see the question, "HIV vs. STD", and other STD related questions in the Sexually Transmitted Diseases section of this webpage.

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