PRESCHOOL CHILDREN DON'T SPREAD HIV TO HOUSEHOLD CONTACTS.
Many recent studies of adults and older children with AIDS have shown that patients rarely transmit HIV to household contacts. Because there are risks of transmission unique to infants and toddlers (such as biting and exposed body secretions), Rogers and co-workers assessed the risk of HIV transmission from infected young children to family members.
The authors tested 89 household contacts of 25 symptomatic young children for HIV infection. Contacts had been exposed to infected children for a median of 15.5 months. No special precautions were used to avoid contact. In fact, there was the "usual" amount of kissing and sharing of eating utensils, toothbrushes, and baths, as well as family spats -- nine HIV-infected children bit their contacts, and seven contacts bit HIV-infected children. All 89 household contacts tested negative for HIV.
The authors conclude that, like older patients, young children with AIDS do not pose a risk of transmitting HIV to their household contacts -- nor, by inference, are they likely to spread HIV in school or day care. These findings, as well as prior reports, suggest that the likelihood of acquiring HIV is quite low, even if a contact is bitten.
Published in Journal Watch General Medicine February 20, 1990
Rogers MF et al. Lack of transmission of human immunodeficiency virus from infected children to their household contacts. Pediatrics 1990 Feb 85 210-214.
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