Using Science to Prove your Argument

Biting and Spitting

The following studies show that there is negligible to no risk of HIV transmission from spit or a bite.

A systematic review of risk of HIV transmission through biting or spitting: implications for policy

A systematic literature search was conducted using Medline, Embase and Northern Lights databases and conference websites. Results showed that there was no risk of transmitting HIV through spitting, and the risk through biting was negligible. Post‐exposure prophylaxis was not indicated after a bite in all but exceptional circumstances. Policies to protect emergency workers should be developed with this evidence in mind.

Spit Does Not Transmit

Provides current factual information about the HIV transmission risks law enforcement professionals may face in the line of duty (aiming to address the frequent overstating of risk). States there is no known case of a law enforcement officer being infected in the line of duty through spitting or biting.

The potential for transmission of human immunodeficiency virus through human bites

Reviews evidence related to the potential for HIV transmission through human bites. Concludes that while biologically possible, transmission remains unlikely, risk is epidemiologically insignificant and as yet, has not been well documented.

Lack of transmission of HIV through human bites and scratches

Report of small study following an HIV-positive man with severe brain damage and poor dental hygiene (causing bleeding gums) who was frequently violent to hospital staff. After 2.5 years follow up, all of the 30 people he’d bitten or scratched remained HIV-negative.