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HIV and AIDS

Can AIDS Be Contracted Airborne?

02/21/2001

Question:

If a person has an open wound on his arm and scabs from Psoraissis, can the coughing saliva from an AIDS victim contaminate him? Would this cause the person without aids to contract it?

Answer:

AIDS is the disease caused by the virus, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). There are a handful of cases of HIV caused by contamination through the skin. Those cases all involved contact with blood. One example is a perfusion pump technologist that was `soaked` in several inches of blood during an operation on a patient (bypass surgery). HIV has never been transmitted by coughing. There are only 2-3 reports of HIV passage through a bite wound. HIV is passed by sexual contact and blood to blood contact. I would not be concerned about a person with AIDS coughing on anyone with or without skin sores.

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Response by:

Carl   Fichtenbaum, MD Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati