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J Infect Dis. 1993 Apr;167(4):803-9.

Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 have low levels of virus in saliva even in the presence of periodontal disease.

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Department of Virology, Westmead Hospital, Australia.


In two consecutive studies, 80 subjects human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-seropositive (21 asymptomatic, 6 persistent generalized lymphadenopathy, 13 AIDS-related complex, and 40 AIDS) were examined for oral lesions. Paired serum and saliva specimens were tested for HIV isolation, DNA, and antigen. HIV antigen was detected in sera from 31 patients, but not in saliva. HIV was isolated from blood mononuclear cells of 83% and saliva supernatants of 21%. In the second study of 25 patients, HIV was detected in plasma of 56% (titers, 1/10 to > 1/1000) but not in diluted saliva supernatants, even in those with severe periodontal disease. HIV DNA was detected using polymerase chain reaction in 2 of 7 saliva cell pellets and 4 of 5 blood samples. Hence, infectious HIV and DNA was found at very low concentrations in 21% and 28% of HIV-seropositive patients, respectively, at all stages of HIV infection.

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