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Inanimate Objects, Dental Work and HIV Risk

Question: 

I will be having dental work next week, and I was wondering if inanimate objects can transmit HIV afterwards, due to bruising and bleeding with the teeth and gums that are worked on. I know that inanimate objects cannot transmit HIV in normal situations and that HIV dies when exposed to air, but I am trying to make sure that I don't accidentally infect myself with the virus from wet or dried fluids if I touch an inanimate object or surface and rub my lips, or pick food out of my teeth because of the aforementioned bruising and bleeding. Thank you in advance.

Answer: 

Hello and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

I understand from your message that you have concerns as to whether the risk of acquiring HIV from inanimate objects is increased following dental work, due to bruising and bleeding in the mouth.

HIV is a human-to-human virus and therefore there is no risk of acquiring HIV from objects such as toothbrushes and tooth picks, nor from touching a surface and then your lips. As you say, HIV is very fragile and cannot survive outside the body, and so there is no risk from food and beverages, nor cups and utensils.

Your dentist will likely speak with you on the day of your procedure as to appropriate after-care and hygiene to help the healing process along.

I hope this answers your question. Best of luck with the dental work

Wendy (Volunteer)

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
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