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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000170.txt from 1999/01

From: Neil Leupold <>
Subj: [kl] HIV via saliva
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 09:53:37 -0500

On Wed, 6 Jan 1999, David Blumberg wrote:

> The epithelial cells inside the mouth are quite susceptible to
> transfection, hence the concern. I believe HIV doesn't transmit
> effectively this way, so much of that concern has now evaporated.

It's an interesting issue, both medical and political. I've been
tested for HIV several times (always negative), and I've known
for many years (via college coursework) that HIV is, in fact,
present in human saliva. I've always noticed, when at an HIV
testing clinic, that every piece of educational material, in-
cluding large wall posters, lacks any statement concerning the
presence of HIV in saliva. Naturally, all of the literature
addresses blood and needles and direct sexual activity, but
never anything about saliva. When I inquired about the ommission,
I was given a humorous, albeit slightly disturbing answer:

"You would have to consume approximately 5 gallons of the saliva
from an HIV-infected individual -- all at once -- in order to
contract HIV. Any less salivary fluid than that, and your own
immune system kills the virus instantaneously." This is an
indication of how low the concentration of HIV is in saliva.
I was told that because of this information, educational lit-
erature about HIV almost never identifies saliva as a means
by which the disease may be contracted, lest the public act
on -- and escalate -- paranoia regarding the issue and cause
a major panic.

The logical application to clarinet, of course, is that playing
on the mouthpiece of an HIV infected individual is an extremely
unlikely cause for concern with regard to their saliva. This
does not, however, speak to the issue of open mouth sores or
cuts (i.e.; on the tip of the tongue from lots of articulation
practice) and the transmission of the disease via actual blood.
I'm not making any intentional implications with this statement,
but invite Diane Karius and any other M.D. types on the list
to respond.


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