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I'm losing sleep

Question: 

Dear Team,

I just wanted to thank you guys for the awesome work you guys are doing around the world, helping people such as myself. I had a question. I had a kissing incident with a little biting last year, and I'm sure there was no blood involved. I went to a doctor who didn't advise PEP. The girl that I kissed was having symptoms consistent with ARS. I don't know if she was positive or not but all the sources I have read like avert.org, CDC say that saliva is not implicated in the transmission of HIV. However, I also read that when a person is having ARS during the acute stage, viral load is at it's peak.

1. Does this apply to the viral load in blood or saliva as well?
2. Is saliva infectious when a person is having ARS symptoms or it is never infectious regardless?

Please help me I have been losing some sleep over this incident

Yours sincerely,

Worried

Answer: 

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking whether you can acquire HIV from saliva when a person is having ARS (Acute Retroviral Syndrome) symptoms, and if viral load has an association with blood, and or saliva.

Great question!

You are correct in the assumptions you have made from your research on saliva. Saliva in HIV positive individuals, and those undergoing ARS, or Seroconversion, still contains only the "noninfectious components" of HIV (1). One study on HIV transmission and saliva has indicated that "In saliva, inhibition of HIV may be partly due to several inhibitors of viruses that are present in the saliva" (1). With this knowledge, it appears as though there are certain mechanisms that the body produces which render HIV inactive in saliva, essentially making HIV transmission through saliva challenging.

Further, when an individual has a high viral load, it most always certainly means that there is a high viral load in their blood.

As far as your kissing encounter goes, we assure you that kissing (with no blood present) is considered a No Risk act here at AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

All the best,

AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Cody