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HIV risk from kissing - Please reply urgently

Question: 

Hi. Thank you so much for all the work that you're doing. I live in Zimbabwe. I was with a girl yesterday. So as we met up, I went in for a kiss but as we kissed she nicked my lower lip accidentally. It was a very light bite, hardly noticeable..I did not sense any bleeding in my mouth, but I'm not sure. So now I'm afraid that if she had HIV and for some reason there was blood in her mouth it might have been absorbed through that same cut..I immediately spat out the saliva from the kiss and when I got home in 10 minutes I washed the area thoroughly with running water. I kept checking the area for a visible cut or abrasion there was nothing and kept running my tongue there..However after about 10 minutes I tasted a small tiny amount of blood. I dont know whether the blood was from the cut or because I had been licking my lips in the area and touching the area. But when I got home before washing I did not see any cut or bruising or redness

1. Can HIV be transmitted to me this way via a small superficial cut? The cut was not bleeding at the time of the bite but when I got home and started cleaning/rubbing the area I noticed a tiny amount of blood. Do I need to go and get PEP?
2. I read some stories about police officers being bitten by HIV positive people and being put on PEP now I'm so scared. I am just assuming that she had no blood in her mouth

NB* I asked her about her HIV status she says she was tested in June and is negative (I saw her report). She even offered us to go and get tested together. Do I have reason to worry..

I know you're very busy but I wanted a quick response so that I can go and get PEP if necessary...Please help!

Answer: 

Hello and thank you for your inquiry.

We gather that you would like to know if you are at risk of acquiring HIV from a kiss, during which your lip was bitten lightly.

Kissing is considered to be a no risk activity for transmission of HIV, assuming there is no blood present.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, in extremely rare cases, HIV has been transmitted through deep, open-mouth kissing if both partners have sores or bleeding gums and blood from the HIV-positive partner gets into the bloodstream of the HIV-negative partner. HIV is not spread through saliva. (1) In the rare case that an HIV-positive person has blood in their mouth — and the person receiving an open-mouth kiss has an actively bleeding wound in the mouth too (such as bleeding gums, cuts, or open sores) — an open-mouth kiss could result in transmission of the virus. However, there’s only one documented case of this occurring, reported in the 1990s. (2)

It sounds like you did not notice any blood in her mouth or in yours at the time of the kiss, and the kiss you describe does not sound like "deep, open-mouth kissing". Blood has a distinctive taste so if you didn't notice it at the time of the bite, we can assume that it wasn't present in sufficient quantities for it to be a concern.

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, and no need to seek PEP. Refer to a physician for other health related questions

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer, Dyson