« Go Back

HIV transmission to a baby through casual contact


**** Dear all,
Could you please clear up the following. If a person who takes care of a baby (9 months) and has HIV (maybe event acute phase), can he transmit HIV to a baby through a casual contact?
I have seen many answers and cases, but anyway it seems unclear. Of course, I don't mean cases with big sores/a lot of blood. But I mean cases when, for example, a child scratch you with nails (small scratch and there can be some blood on it) and then gets his fingers to mouth/eyes (always doing it, especially to the mouth because of toothing).
Many thanks in advance!


Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of transmission from a person who has HIV to a baby through casual contact. Specifically, you are asking about the possibility of transmission from blood resulting from a superficial scratch/wound to mouth/eye contact. From the scenario given, we have determined that there is no risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation. It does not satisfy the equation because although it does involve bodily fluid (blood), there is no direct access to the blood stream. For a risk to exist, HIV+ fluid must come into direct contact with the blood stream of an HIV- person. In this case, the transfer of blood from a fresh wound to the hands, then mouth/eyes of a teething baby does not pose a risk due to the exposure of oxygen to the blood. Any exposure of oxygen will render HIV inactive, thus in an oxygen exposed environment such as hands or fingers the virus will become inactive.

Best, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Cody