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September 8, 1997

Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Through Saliva After a Lip Bite

Author Affiliations

Eungyoung Lee Columbia, SC

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(16):1901. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440370151017

Although saliva is known to contain the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),1 to our knowledge it has never been shown to have actually transmitted the virus from one person to another.2,3 We describe a 20-year-old Asian man who, on sustaining a bite on his lip, contracted HIV through saliva.

Report of a Case.  The patient, previously asymptomatic, was hospitalized in March 1996 with a 5-day history of diarrhea. On examination, there was mild dehydration and generalized abdominal tenderness, suggestive of colitis. Investigations showed cysts and trophozoites of Entamoeba histolylica in the stool samples. The patient was treated with intravenous fluids and metronidazole. He showed considerable improvement, but appeared tense and anxious, and, finally, on the fourth day, he asked whether his HIV test was done.On questioning, he strongly denied any sexual contact, blood transfusions, or intravenous drug abuse, but volunteered the information that 10 months ago, in June

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