Can one Contract HIV through Kissing?

There are various types of kissing and many of them can apply as regards the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), since they involve intimate body contacts and fluid exchange. HIV compromises a person’s immunity. This opens an avenue for multiple opportunistic diseases and infections that, if not treated early, can easily be fatal after the patient acquire “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome” (AIDS).

The two are commonly addressed and abbreviated together as HIV/AIDS and there is worldwide advocacy to minimise, if not eradicate new infections and deaths related to HIV/AIDS. So whether its transmission is possible through kissing is a significant question at this point in time. This is a question many people ask today given two main inherent facts that it encapsulates. First, there is an uncontested truth that HIV/AIDS is a major pandemic in our time and medical research to find its cure is still on going. Therefore, the best precaution, for those not living with the virus, is to prevent infection.

Second, kissing is such a common practise that when it is mentioned alongside HIV transmission, many will develop an interest. Furthermore, the issue is further complicated by the fact that HIV is transmitted through transfer of bodily fluids from an HIV infected person to another. One wonders: Isn’t saliva a form of bodily fluid? Doesn’t blood get into saliva, and can’t it probably get mixed with an infected person’s body fluids when kissing, hence possible transmission to a partner?

The questions seem endless because people want to know the truth; they want to make no mistakes; they want to be informed so as to make informed decisions in turn; they want to be able to protect themselves or their loved ones from HIV infection. Before engaging in a discussion of whether kissing can or cannot transmit HIV, let’s delve into the whole issue of kissing; what happens during a mouth-tomouth kissing?

Assuming the many questions above are based on a French kiss, during which, the bodily fluid being exchanged is saliva and any other fluids that may have mixed with it, say stains of drinks or traces of blood from bleeding gums or even mouth sores. If you recently deep kissed someone and all these pictures and questions are running through your mind for you want to do the right thing in good time to protect yourself or your partner, the good news is that you need to relax. Recent research shows that chances of getting an HIV infection through mouth-to mouth kissing are almost negligible, in fact, less than 1%.

The amount of saliva in the mouth is much more than the traces of blood that might be coming out of the gums. It is important to also note that gums tend to bleed after an abrasive brushing or eating some foods that bruise the gums, leaving them bleeding only for a short while. Chances are still very slim because saliva has a neutralizing enzyme commonly abbreviated, as SLPI - Secretory Leukocyte Peptidase inhibitor, in which the HIV cannot survive, hence cannot cause infection to a second party.

However, there are earlier researches that generated a school of though that believes in high possibility of HIV transmission through kissing. This kind of information definitely moves faster than bush fire, which is very difficult to put off. In a 1994 research, for example, the findings showed that there is a very high possibility of HIV transmission through mouth-to-mouth kissing. This has since been disputed though traces of this “bush fire” still exist, thus raising the very question this article has answered. In a nutshell, once information is out there, it becomes very difficult to control and it is impossible to retract.

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