A systematic review of risk of HIV transmission through biting or spitting: implications for policy, FV Cresswell et al, HIV Medicine (2018)

Research and Journal Articles

Researchers in the United Kingdom, based on a systematic review of published studies, find that there is no risk of HIV transmission from spitting, and the risk through biting is negligible. Of the thirteen studies that reported on alleged HIV transmission from a bite, none involved emergency responders, and the majority occurred between family members. Of the total reported transmissions, only four had high plausibility (or a high likelihood) and in each instance, the PLHIV had advanced disease and was not on combined ART. The article concludes by recommending that policies to protect emergency responders be consistent with this evidence. Furthermore, it provides scientific support for elimination not only of mandatory testing following a first responder’s alleged exposure, but all laws and policies that criminalize spitting and biting by PLHIV.