Published January, 1988

Lack of Transmission of HIV Through Human Bites and Scratches, Chris M. Tsoukus et al., Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1988)

This limited study, conducted during the mid-1980's, chronicles the lack of transmission of HIV through bites and scratches. The study followed only one patient, an HIV- positive hemophiliac with severe brain damage, who was incontinent, masturbated frequently, had poor dental hygiene that led to extreme bleeding in his gums, and often had untrimmed nails. He was violent and hostile toward the hospital staff; out of 198 medical workers who provided care for him, he bit and/or scratched 30 of them. This is the entire basis of the study.

Although his viral load was high, after 2.5 years of consistent follow-up, all of the traumatized medical workers remained HIV-negative. The authors concluded that "The risk of transmission of HIV through this route under similar conditions should be low." Their conclusion has been supported by the ensuing twenty-two years of research.