Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can a person get HIV from sharing a toothbrush?"
My partner is HIV-positive. I've heard doctors say that you can't get HIV from saliva or blood outside the body, but I've also seen it recommended that people don't share toothbrushes and razors. Can my partner and I share a toothbrush, or not? Is it dangerous?
As you know, it is possible to have a very meaningful relationship with someone that is HIV positive while minimizing your risk of exposure to the virus. The most important things you can do to prevent transmission is to use condoms during every sexual encounter, and to never share needles if you use intravenous drugs. Kissing and touching carries little or now risk for transmission. Brushing your teeth can produce small cuts on the gum lines exposing the brush to bloody secretions. This, in theory could expose you to the virus if you shared a tooth brush. The risk would be low (but has never been studied thoroughly), but not worth taking since sharing a tooth brush is not something that is necessary. The same goes for razors. I think its better to lower your risk, even if its low, when its easy to do so. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or go with your partner to his or her next doctors visit to review some of these issues. He or she can go over the risks of contracting HIV from your partner. This is important for you to stay safe while maintaining a meaningful relationship with your partner. Good luck.
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