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March 1997

Lack of Detection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in the Saliva of Infected Children and Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital and Medical Center (Drs Melvin, Tamura, Frenkel, and Burchett), and the Division of Virology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle (Drs Hobson and Cone); and the Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Wash (Dr House). Dr House is now affiliated with the Division of Pediatric Dentistry, Scott and White Clinic and Memorial Hospital, Temple, Tex; Dr Cone, with the Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland; and Dr Burchett, with Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(3):228-232. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170400014003

Objective:  To determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the saliva of infected children and adolescents.

Methods:  Saliva and blood samples were collected from 13 patients (age range, 1-15 years) with HIV-1 infection. Eleven were taking antiretroviral agents. The presence of HIV-1 was determined by polymerase chain reaction analysis of RNA and DNA as well as by viral culture of the saliva samples and by culture of peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Results:  Although HIV-1 was cultured from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 12 patients, it was not cultured from their saliva. Only 1 of 13 saliva samples yielded positive test results for HIV-1 RNA, and none did so for HIV-1 DNA. The specimen containing HIV-1 RNA was from an untreated 10-year-old asymptomatic boy with a CD4+ lymphocyte count of 0.91×109/L (913 cells/μL) and no infectious virus detected in plasma.

Conclusion:  The prevalence of HIV-1 in the saliva of HIV-1—infected children and adolescents is low and may not be infectious.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:228-232