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HIV and AIDS

Transmission of HIV Through A Small Amount of Food

06/30/2005

Question:

Can HIV/AIDS be transmitted from an infected person which is dripped onto food then ingested? I received a circulating note about a 10 year old boy who ate a sandwich from a road side vendor who had symptom-free undiagnosed AIDS. The vendor cut his finger, continued to work, dripped onto the sandwich which the boy ate and fell ill in 15 days. It was traced back to the vendor`s cut finger. Is this possible?

Answer:

The chances of contracting HIV through a small amount of ingested food would be very small, but not zero.  If the person ingesting the sandwich had had sores in the mouth, this would have increased the chances, but overall it sounds like a very implausible scenario.

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Response by:

Peter Grubbs, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati