Anonymous
Hi,
I went to the dentist today to check an old filling that I was concerned had a crack in it. I got very anxious when I was sitting in the chair and wasn't paying attention to whether or not the dentist wore gloves. She was just checking this one tooth, prodded it a bit and took photos of it. I'm now concerned that she was gloveless during the exam and I'm so worried that this has put me at risk. What if she was bleeding from her fingers into my mouth, would this put me at risk? My mouth was a bit sore from flossing in the morning. Thank you for your time and advice. Kind regards.
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Anonymous
Hello and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline with your question.

It seems you are concerned about contracting HIV from a contact you had at the dentist. We are glad to provide some information on this.

The first thing is that HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. The following transmission equation will show you the activities that result in the transmission of HIV. The activity that you described is regarded a no risk activity. The second thing is that saliva has got enzymes that inhibit HIV transmission. So if by some chance HIV virus comes into contact with saliva then it will not be able to be transmitted. For these two reasons I do not believe you are at risk of contracting HIV.

HIV TRANSMISSION EQUATION


BODY FLUID
+
ACTIVITY
+
DIRECT ACCESS TO BLOODSTREAM
---------- -------- ----------------------------
• blood (including menstrual) • unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse • vagina
• semen • sharing needles • anus
• pre-cum • mother to child (in specific cases) • urethra in the penis
• rectal secretions • open cuts and sores (in theory)
• vaginal fluids • other mucosal membranes
• breast milk • points of needle injection

At AIDS Vancouver we recommend that people use HIV testing as a regular health maintenance routine. We encourage people to get tested once or twice a year. If you are still worried then we recommend you visit a testing center and request for an HIV test.

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.


Lawrence

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (PST)

1 844 INFO-HIV (Toll free Canada & U.S.)

helpline@aidsvancouver.org

Private & Confidential**

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= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION