Transmission with mouth kissing and HIV+ partner

Question

I am absolutely terrified. I recently met and began seeing a great young man. I recently came out as gay and have been trying to begin dating at 24 as I was not out or active sexually before. I am very aware and educated with HIV and was very cautious in my relationships. However, I met this guy and really hit it off well with him. It was great because he wasn't very physical at first which I found to be a great sign of a health conscious person. Anyway, after 4 weeks of dating, we did begin watching movies and holding each other in a non-sexual way. I had kissed him twice closed mouth on the lips, as a goodbye. Last week, we watched a movie and he kissed me with a little bit of tongue for maybe 10 seconds at most. Later, we laid down and cuddled before he had to leave. I gave him a 2 minute back massage and we open-mount kissed for maybe a minute at most. Then, he told me he was HIV positive...had been for about 4 years and had been on medication for the past 2 years. He told me he was undetectable. I was terrified. Currently, I'm still trying to remain friends with him since I can only imagine how terrifying the situation must be for him. I know HIV isn't usually transmitted through saliva...but what are the chances really? We would go out to eat a lot and I remember always getting tooth picks and picking my teeth after the meal. I believe that happened that night...although at least 3 hours before we kissed. What if my gums were bleeding? I went to the emergency room an hour after he told me and demanded PEP drugs. I've been taking them for 7 days now...21 more to go. I have serious concerns that I'm infected...but I know the literature says I'm at low risk. I don't know if I'll be able to date after this...it's too terrifying. I now have this guy talking to me and hoping for a relationship but I've told him I absolutely cannot be in a relationship with him. It's also concerning that he didn't know he was + for 2 years. I feel like I can never be safe enough. I'm terrified..and after reading that PEP drugs can cause false negatives due to suppressing the virus, I'm terrified that I'll have to go months before I can have peace of mind. Is PCR testing readily available and how long would I need to wait having been on PEP drugs? What is the quickest way I can now my status? 3 more weeks sounds like eternity to me and I can't focus on anything other than my impending doom. Please tell me how at risk I am and how long I have to wait under the most advanced testing? I have great insurance but would be willing to pay out-of-pocket for a quicker test.

Answer

Hi I apologize for the delay in responding to your question. The quick answer is no risk at all! Kissing is absolutely fine and HIV transmission cannot be transmitted through saliva. HIV transmission can only occur when there is a direct and prolonged exposure to body fluids, semen, vaginal fluid, blood or mother to child through breast feeding. This most commonly occurs through unprotected vaginal or anal sex and sharing of needles. Casual contact, sharing utensils, drinking after someone, etc are not way for HIV transmission to occur. If you go to this link HIV101 it will take you to our page that talks about the ways in which HIV is and is not transmitted.

The next best thing is that he is on medication and most likely has an undetectable viral load which makes HIV transmission decrease by up to 96%. If you do plan to continue the relationship, first make sure you are tested so you know your status and then next you can talk to his health care provider about the possibility of you starting PreP, Truvada. It is FDA approved for someone who does not have HIV to prevent getting HIV!

Be well and stay safe, Shannon