Anonymous
Greeting!

I am living with a housemate who is hiv positive but on anti-retroviral drug for a couple of months. Few days ago, I had an acute attack of vertigo and I asked him out of desperation to hand me over my medicine.He put the tablet in his hand and put it directly in my mouth. I drank a glass of water right away . I do not know if his hands were clean or if there are any body fluids on them but apparently, I did not see any blood or any type of secretion.. I am just as worried though as I have a small mouth sore but its not bleeding but he did NOT touch any part of my mouth all, only the pill.Am I at risk for any HIV transmission in this manner?









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Anonymous
Hello!

thanks for contacting AIDS Vancouver for HIV/AIDS-related information.

The short answer is no. Not at all. Perfectly safe. Let me explain why.

For HIV transmission to occur, the body fluids of an HIV positive person (i.e. blood, semen, saliva) need direct access to YOUR bloodstream through an activity like unprotected anal/vaginal sex. Period. So, this doesn't sound like your situation.

Furthermore, HIV is a relatively weak virus outside the body. It can live outside of the body at most 60 seconds. This is because it dies after exposure to oxygen. This is why people cannot transmit HIV through surfaces. So, even if your friend had fresh blood on their hand, any HIV present in the blood would have already died by the time it reached your mouth.

You can also note that HIV is very difficult to transmit orally. This is because saliva has an enzyme that inhibits the production of HIV. So, even if you somehow happened to get your roommate's blood in your mouth, this would mean you would not be at risk.

Finally, I notice that you mentioned your housemate is on anti-retrovirals. This means that he is taking care of his health and likely managing his HIV well. His medicines not only help keep him in good health, but they can also help reduce the risk of him passing HIV onto others. With medicines, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. They can be in long-term relationships with HIV-negative people who will never become HIV-positive. Women living with HIV can have children who will remain HIV negative as well.

So, in conclusion, no, this is no risk. Feel free to hug, kiss, share food, hold hands, share clothes, whatever.

I trust that I have answered your questions, however, if you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

All the best

Maggie

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer
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