To the Editor: Despite evidence of HIV in the saliva of HIV-positive persons, oral transmission of the virus appears to be a rare event. Researchers have isolated infectious virus from only a small percentage of saliva samples from HIV-infected patients, even when virus can be isolated from peripheral-blood samples from the same persons1,2 or when HIV DNA is detected in saliva by the polymerase chain reaction3. Components of saliva can inhibit HIV4 and other viruses5. Can the presence of salivary viral inhibitors explain the low rate of recovery of HIV from oral fluids? Recently, we tested saliva.
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