Although it is generally assumed that HIV transmission does not occur th rough casual oral contact, persistent reports in the literature and the well-documented case of the Florida dentis (Ou et al. 1992) have served to elevate concerns and interest about the possibility of oral transmission of HIV. The literature suggests that (1) the presence of infectious virus in the oral cavity is an uncommon event; (2) PCR data indicate that HIV sequences may be present in the oral cavity at reasonably high frequency - further studies are warranted; (3) saliva appears to contain potent anti-HIV activity that may be responsible for the low oral virus titer; and (4) oral secretions are a reliable source for monitoring anti-HIV antibodies. It is clear that the oral cavity will remain a focus for HIV research, in terms of both viral transmission/pathogenesis and for noninvasive diagnosis of the HIV-positive individual.
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