SIGNIFICANT SHORTS : SIGNIFICANT SHORTS : HIV virus bite transmit

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The first documented case of the HIV virus being transmitted by a human bite is reported today in the Lancet. It involved a Slovenian man who was accidentally bitten by a neighbour who had Aids. The man went to help the Aids patient, who was having a fit, and to help him breathe, stuck his fingers in his neighbour's mouth.

Although not bitten badly, his fingernail was split and the man became concerned when he saw blood on the Aids patient's lips. Doctors say there is little doubt that HIV was transmitted by the bite. They say that it is very rare for people to get infection this way because usually there are very few HIV cells in saliva. However, the Aids patient was very ill - he died shortly after - and there was probably a lot of virus in his body fluids. Liz Hunt

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