Hi Dr H,
I need some advice on an encounter that has terrified me to the extent I cannot sleep or function in every day life.
I recently engaged in a make out session (open mouthed and tongues) with someone of questionable hiv status for about 2 minutes and then stopped because I realised that my tongue was bleeding slightly due to self inflicted bites that occasionally happens out of a nervous habit. I have tried to research information on transmission of hiv by saliva but cannot find anything that states the risk if there is direct access of saliva into the bloodstream by a person who may be hiv+. I am so scared that I have contracted hiv but it's too early for me to be tested(happened 1 week ago).
What is my risk factor and what information are you aware of that invloves saliva and hiv transmission(specifically into an open wound). The other person involved agreed to get tested because they have had unprotected sex in the past and at 5 weeks since their last unprotected encounter has tested negative. Am I being overly paranoid? Also do you know what generation Elisa tests they use in Australia? Are they fairly conclusive at 5 weeks?
Thank you so much Dr, your help very much appreciated.
As others have already responded (below): yes, you are being paraoid. Get a grip. You cannot catch HIV from the exposures you describe--the risk is lower than the chance you will die of some unexpected accident or illness (not HIV!) in the coming week. The level of anxiety and fear you express is truly irrational and abnormal.
Australia has the world's best network of STD clinics, called sexual health centers.
There are SHCs in all major cities. Visit one for personal evaluation and reassurance. They also can tell you what specific HIV tests are done there. (But trust me, it's the latest technology and a 5 week result is highly reassuring).
Forget the saliva giving you HIV part, there is not enough virus in saliva to give you HIV. I think there has been only 1 case where the CDC suspects kissing may be the way HIV was transmitted, and I believe it was where both people were suspected to have bleeding gums. That is one case of suspecting out of the billions of epsisodes of kissing that have happened with HIV infected people. There are serodiscordant couples that kiss all the time. Forget it.
Thanks Monkey and Will,
At times I have moments of clarity and can see your points but researching infectiousness of saliva on the internet is probably not helping. Many studies say that hiv has been isolated from saliva in infected people so I suppose I am not 100% convinced that saliva into a direct open wound isn't a risk .
Thank you Dr...your words are certainly encouraging for me ,maybe thats what I needed to hear right now. If I was totally rational at this time I probably would not have posted the question but I needed a medical perspective on my risk.
It's hard to know what to believe when some internet sites say yes saliva had the potential to infect and others say no it doesn't. Who do you believe?
People with symptoms that concern them never should just search the web for any and all sites they can find. Be selective. Limit such searches to authoritative sites that are not run by companies with something to sell, and avoid sites run by disease-specific advocacy groups. Also, don't even LOOK at commentts posted by medically untrained persons, especially on sites where such comments are unmonitored by a knowledgeable authority. (You will not find much BS information on this site; I delete any medically unsupported comments that I see.)
For STD/HIV information, most government sources are excellent (CDC, NIH, local and state health departments); the American Social Health Association (www.ashastd.org); for HIV in particular, thebody.com; for herpes in particular, www.westoverheights.com.
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