Can Kissing Give You HIV?
My wife and I have been married for almost nine years, and until recently had never kissed or made love to anyone other than one another. The other night my wife was at a dance club and gave a guy she danced with a 5-6 second passionate "French" kiss (they didn't sleep together!). Up to this point we have both been HIV free. I am now worried that she could have possibly contracted the HIV virus from this kiss. Is this possible? Should I be worried???? What should we do, if anything?
It's very unlikely that the virus that causes HIV can be transmitted through a kiss, though it is possible. In July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported one case where a man had apparently transmitted the virus to his partner during deep kissing. Although this is the first reported incident of transmission via a kiss, it's important to note that the man had blood in his saliva from infected gums, including canker sores and gingivitis. (His partner also had infected gums.) The virus was transmitted from his blood; not his saliva.
According to the CDC, exposure to saliva itself is not considered an HIV transmission risk, for several reasons: Saliva has proteins that cut down the infectivity of HIV; levels of the virus are low in the saliva of people with HIV; and none of the 500,000 AIDS cases documented by the CDC can be attributed to exposure to saliva. Several studies have found only rare instances of infectious virus in the saliva of people with HIV.
Casual kissing does not put you at risk of HIV. There is a small possibility of risk when deep kissing an infected person, because of the potential for contact with blood. An exchange of potentially infectious blood is more possible if one of you has an open sore or gum disease in your mouth, or if you've brushed and flossed your teeth before deep kissing or oral sex.
Setting that aside, I'd ask myself whether it was really the HIV you are concerned about. Your worries about the possibility of viral transmission seem a great deal stronger than the situation might warrant. I wonder if your reaction indicates other concerns. Perhaps you ought to sit down with your wife, discuss your feelings about the incident, and find out about hers.