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sharing toothbrush when bleeding gums


Could you let me know if this is a risk when I used toothbrush just few minutes after somebody and my gums start bleeding during cleaning? I did not see any visible strains of blood but I can not exclude that this person has bleeding gums too. I applied toothpaste before cleaning.


Hello there, Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather you were asking about the possibility of HIV transmission through sharing of toothbrushes that are possibly contaminated with HIV blood (gum bleed).

From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible with the given scenario (No exchange of bodily fluids)).

This scenario does not provide a risk of transmission. This is because it does not satisfy the 3 components of our HIV Transmission Equation. The equation requires the following to be present in order for HIV transmission to occur: HIV positive bodily fluid (semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluid, anal fluid, blood, and breast milk), with direct access to the bloodstream, through a High Risk, Low Risk, or Negligible Risk activity.

Further, HIV does not survive long outside the body. However, the virus can survive over 40 days in a completely sealed environment (i.e syringe) [1]. If one is penetrated with a syringe that contains the HIV virus there is a 0 to 2.3% chance that transmission will occur [1]. In your scenario, assuming the person had bleeding gums, the virus would have been exposed to their own salivary enzymes and oxygen before you would have used the toothbrush. Both oxygen and saliva would have eliminated any possible activity from the virus. [2,3]

Recommendation: There is no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. Refer to a healthcare professional for more personalized answers.

Thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver Helpline,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline, Joseph