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Transmission in Household Settings


CDC inform about few (eight cases shown in table) HIV Transmission in Household Settings. (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00030972.htm)

I have heard that HIV is never transmitted through casual contacts, and now I am little concerned about this information. Could you explain?



Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about a CDC article published in 1994 about HIV transmission in household settings and how those transmissions occurred since casual contact is a No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario) activity (1).

You are correct when stating that casual contacts with a person living with HIV such as "social kissing", shaking hands, hugging, using the same toilet, or sharing the same glass have no risk of HIV transmission. The article you provided outlines eight different cases of HIV transmission that occurred in household settings, but these transmissions were not caused by casual contacts. In the table you pointed out it outlines that in each case there was exposure to blood or other bodily fluids that could carry the HIV virus, and that these exposures were not casual contacts. The activities ranged from home nursing without the use of proper gloved protection to a case of biting, none of which are casual contacts. Please note that HIV transmission can occur in any setting if the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation are fulfilled.

Recommendation: Refer to a healthcare professional for other health related questions.


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie