USC study focuses on HIV transmission from saliva

The Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California (USC) has published new findings about the relationship between oral and overall health and the possibility of HIV transmission through saliva (Journal of Dental Research, October 2010, Vol. 89:10, pp. 1074-1079).

The study included hundreds of HIV-positive women, who submitted blood and saliva samplings biannually over a five-and-a-half-year period. Levels of HIV and CD4 immune cells were ascertained in each sample. Lower CD4 counts corresponded to higher likelihood of HIV virus shedding in saliva, a means of transmission that is of a much lower risk than from other bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal and cervical secretions, and breast milk. Even so, the researchers emphasize, it should not be ignored.

Poor oral and systemic health in individuals increase the possibility of HIV transmission through saliva. Gum disease, for example, can lead to bleeding in the mouth and increase the shedding of HIV in saliva. Dry mouth caused by medication and oral infections is a common problem for those with HIV.

The researchers believe that this is the first study examining both systemic and oral health in female HIV patients and that the findings reinforce the necessity for quality dental care for HIV-positive individuals to be a part of complete healthcare.

Copyright © 2010

Page 1 of 145
Next Page