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May 8, 2015

Indiana Governor signs needle exchange program

Indiana Governor signs needle exchange program

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Pence was a former US Representative and elected Indiana’s Governor in 2012. He will face reelection next year.
Image: United States Congress.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence dropped his former opposition to needle exchange programs and on Tuesday signed legislation passed by lawmakers on April 29 — the last day of the state’s legislative session — that would allow local health departments, municipalities, counties, or nonprofit organizations to implement needle exchange programs. The debate about the controversial programs came on the heels of an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana.

Austin, in Scott County, Indiana, was the epicenter of the outbreak. The number of new HIV positive cases in Scott County in this outbreak rose past 140. Governor Pence declared the outbreak a public health emergency on March 26, and at the same time approved a 30-day needle exchange program. Pence since offered a 30-day extension as the number of HIV positive cases continued to rise.

Needle exchange programs provide clean needles in exchange for dirty needles. The sharing of dirty needles has been linked to the outbreak. Experts like Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society, support needle exchange programs. Beyrer told the Indianapolis Star, however, that temporary measures, like the one Pence implemented on March 26, don’t solve the long-term problem. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend needle exchange programs. But experts say long-term needle exchange programs are needed.

The HIV epidemic in Southern Indiana has been linked to a drug problem in Scott County. HIV and Hepatitis C are blood-borne viruses that spread by way of bodily fluids and bloodstream injections, especially when more than one person is using the same needle.

Legislators on the committee responsible for Senate Bill 461 heard testimony last week before voting. Representative Thomas Washburne, Republican, Evansville, told Wikinews on April 27 that he was involved in conversations pertaining to needle exchange programs. “I am inclined to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control in implementing needle exchanges,” Washburne said in an interview with Wikinews. “My vote against Senate Bill 461 was not due to the needle exchanges, but other issues involved in the bill.”

House members passed the bill 80–19, senators 38–11.

After legislators passed the bill, Pence told WISH-TV: “From my perspective, the focus needs to be on health emergencies. I have throughout my career not supported needle exchanges as anti-drug policies. But with regard to addressing an epidemic, which is what we’ve seen in Scott County, which is unprecedented in any rural part of the country. I was prepared to support that through executive action.”

Louisville, Kentucky, about 35 miles south of Austin, was the first Kentucky municipal government to approve a needle exchange program. The Louisvile Metro Council voted 22–0 to approve the program on April 23. That approval requires reconsulting the council before actually implementing such a program. About 195 cities in the United States have adopted similar programs.

Dr. William Shaffner, a doctor and chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, told Wikinews reporters March 25 at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, the day before Pence declared the public health emergency, such a program would make sense. He said the best course of action would be to “block and tackle.”

“Needle exchange programs ought to be used,” Shaffner said. “They have been proven to work and do not cause an increase in drug use.”


USI Shaw Lecture 03.jpg

Dr. William Schaffner presents March 25, 2015 at the 2015 Shaw Lecture at the University of Southern Indiana about emerging infectious diseases.
Image: Gkstylianides.

USI Shaw Lecture 01.jpg

USI Biology Professor Marlene Shaw welcomes a full house to the 2015 Shaw Lecture on March 25, 2015 at the University of Southern Indiana.
Image: Gkstylianides.

USI Shaw Lecture 02.jpg

A crowd of students, faculty and healthcare professionals gather during the 2015 Shaw Lecture on March 25, 2015 in Mitchell Auditorium at the University of Southern Indiana to hear Dr. William Shaffner present.
Image: Gkstylianides.

USI Shaw Lecture 04.jpg

Dr. William Shaffner answers questions from students on March 25, 2015 during the 2015 Shaw Lecture at the University of Southern Indiana.
Image: Gkstylianides.



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August 4, 2011

Swaziland to receive financial bailout from South Africa

Swaziland to receive financial bailout from South Africa

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

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King Mswati III praised South Africa for the bailout
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The small African nation of Swaziland will receive a financial bailout from neighbouring South Africa. The South African government agreed to a loan of 2.4 billion rand ($350 million) after several organisations including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rejected King Mswati III‘s request for a bailout.

King Mswati III released a statement about the bailout saying, “We are thankful and also appreciate the assistance we have received from South Africa. This shows that they are good neighbours.” He added “But it must be stressed that this is not a gift but a loan, which naturally should be repaid. This is why every Swazi must play his or her role by working hard wherever he is to ensure that the country gets back to its feet the soonest.”

The King has been criticized for living with 13 wives in luxury while the majority of his country lives in poverty.

Despite the South African government’s agreement, the bailout has been met with some concern. The opposition in South Africa said that the government should reject the loan as Swaziland is an “undemocratic state”. However, the government has said that the bailout would bring stability to the state and surrounding region.

The loan is expected to help Swaziland, which is going through a financial crisis. The nation has reportedly been unable to pay some of its civil servants and could not afford antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.

Earlier this year, the country saw a wave of protests and demonstrations related to the economic situation.



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March 9, 2010

Research shows HIV virus may hide in bone marrow

Research shows HIV virus may hide in bone marrow

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

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HIV virus (falsely colored in green)

Recent research published in Nature Medicine two days ago shows the HIV virus may be found within the bone marrow of those affected. Kathleen Collins, the co-author of the study and professor at the University of Michigan, states the purpose of the study is to achieve “a better understanding of how HIV hides in the body.”

Recently, new antiretroviral drugs have helped slow the progression of the HIV virus as long as the patient uses these drugs for their whole life. This shows the treatment is effective, however some portion of the virus remains within the human body.

The researchers found the virus can hide in certain bone marrow cells. Collins stated that one cannot kill the bone marrows cells because this would have a lethal effect on humans, however she said “maybe we could find ways of targeting only the latently infected bone marrow cells.” Collins believes that in the future this new discovery may help scientists to kill off the HIV virus, or perhaps remove the necessity of using antiretrovirals for a lifetime.



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August 4, 2009

New human HIV strain discovered in France

New human HIV strain discovered in France

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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A woman in Paris, France has been found to be infected by a strain of the HIV virus with a lineage that is closer to the Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) normally found in gorillas than that in chimpanzees. The new strain, which has been designated as P by the University of Rouen and University of Manchester researchers, is the first confirmed human infection of an SIV from a non-Chimpanzee source.

Young chimpanzees
Image: Delphine Bruyere.

“We have identified a new human immunodeficiency virus in a Cameroonian woman. It is closely related to gorilla simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVgor) and shows no evidence of recombination with other HIV-1 lineages. This new virus seems to be the prototype of a new HIV-1 lineage that is distinct from HIV-1 groups M, N and O. We propose to designate it HIV-1 group P,” said the researchers.

The 62-year-old woman, originally from Cameroon in Africa and who emigrated to France five years ago, is healthy and shows no sign of AIDS. Her claims of no previous contact with gorillas or with bushmeat suggests human-to-human infection. The prevalence of the new strain is as yet unknown, and researchers are sifting through the woman’s contacts for other possible sources of infection.

At the moment, the most likely pathway of infection is of gorilla-to-human, though it cannot be ruled out that this new strain began in chimpanzees before moving to gorillas and humans.



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April 4, 2009

Canadian convicted of murder in HIV case

Canadian convicted of murder in HIV case

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

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In what is described as a Canadian first, a jury on Saturday convicted an Ontario man of first-degree murder in the AIDS-related deaths of two women.

Johnson Aziga, 52, was accused of knowingly infecting his sex partners with the HIV virus which can cause AIDS. The trial dealt with the cases where two women had died from AIDS-related complications, while 11 others were either infected or exposed to HIV. Aziga was informed he carried the HIV virus in 1996 and was instructed by public health authorities to inform his sex partners of his condition. However, the trial prosecutors alleged that Aziga disregarded these orders and continued to practice unprotected sex without warning his partners he carried HIV.

The defence counsel for Aziga argued that he suffered from various problems including depression and an organic brain disorder, which rendered him incapable of causing intentional harm.

During the trial in Hamilton, Aziga also faced 11 counts of aggravated sexual assault and was convicted in all but one of these charges. The 11th charge was replaced by conviction on a lesser charge of attempted aggravated sexual assault. The murder convictions mean that Aziga faces sentence for which he could not be paroled for 25 years.



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March 19, 2009

US supports UN gay rights declaration

US supports UN gay rights declaration – Wikinews, the free news source

US supports UN gay rights declaration

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Obama administration announced on March 18, 2009 that the United States, in a reversal of position, would support the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity.

67 UN member states (green) have signed or say they will sign the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. 57 UN member states (red) have signed an opposing declaration.

The United States will become the 67th signatory to the non-binding document, which was proposed by France and the Netherlands and “condemn[s] the human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity wherever they occur, in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention and deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health”.

US State Department Spokesman Robert A. Wood

Accepting the proposal, which according to US State Department spokesman Robert Wood “commits us to no legal obligations”, would nonetheless be a reversal from the Bush administration’s refusal to sign. According to Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality, “the administration’s leadership on this issue will be a powerful rebuke of an earlier Bush administration position that sought to deny the universal application of human rights protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals”.

57 UN member nations, however, including many but not all members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, have signed a counter-declaration introduced by Syria saying that normalization of LGBT rights would lead to “the social normalization, and possibly the legitimization, of many deplorable acts including pedophilia.” Vatican City also opposes the resolution but on its introduction made a statement condemning legal discrimination against LGBT persons.

Homosexuality or homosexual behavior is illegal in some 70 UN member nations and punishable by death in seven.

The United States’ adoption of the document comes as the Obama administration faces continued criticism from gay rights advocates on the subject of homosexual individuals serving in the United States military. While Obama has stated he would repeal Bill Clinton’s 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise and end restrictions on gays, bisexuals and lesbians serving in the military, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that he has had “one brief conversation with the president” on the subject; meanwhile, a US House bill to end the ban is losing its primary sponsor, Ellen Tauscher, to the State Department and no complementary piece of legislation has been introduced to the Senate.

France’s proposal of the document is one of several instances in the course of the Sarkozy administration where France and the Vatican have been at odds on issues of sexuality. France’s foreign ministry, in response to comments by Pope Benedict rejecting the distribution of condoms in Africa to prevent AIDS, led EU member nations in rejecting the Pope’s position. In September 2008, France openly affronted the Vatican by appointing an openly gay man, Denis Tillinac, as its ambassador to the Holy See; the Vatican rejected the appointment.



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October 4, 2008

Study estimates first human HIV infection 100 years ago

Study estimates first human HIV infection 100 years ago

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1
Image: CDC.

An eight year study, published in scientific journal Nature, claims the HIV-1 virus that leads to AIDS could have infected humans around 1908 in Africa. Scientists found traces of the HIV-1 genome collected in 1960 from a woman who lived in Léopoldville, presently called Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An earlier study had also isolated the virus from a 1959 blood sample of a male from Léopoldville. Study of both the samples and estimate of the rate at which the virus mutates over time has led the researchers to conclude that the human strain could have been around for 100 years.

The study, co-sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was carried out by Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona and colleagues from the United States, France, Belgium, Australia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Denmark.

Cquote1.svg HIV is one of these pathogens that you could almost think of as living on the edge of extinction. It means there are things we could do to actually make it so that it doesn’t have a chance of spreading. Cquote2.svg

—Michael Worobey, University of Arizona in Tucson

Earlier estimates of this nature had indicated the first infection in humans occurred between 1915 and 1941. The present study pushes the date of the infection back to sometime between 1884 and 1924, with a more focused estimate at 1908. Earlier studies have suggested that HIV-1 virus was spread from chimpanzees to humans in Cameroon.

“Now, for the first time, we have been able to compare two relatively ancient HIV strains. That helped us to calibrate how quickly the virus evolved and make some really robust inferences about when it crossed into humans, how the epidemic grew from that time, and what factors allowed the virus to enter and become a successful human pathogen,” Dr. Worobey said.

“HIV is one of these pathogens that you could almost think of as living on the edge of extinction,” Worobey continued. He believes that had HIV not been carried to a city, it may not have survived the jump to humans.

“It means there are things we could do to actually make it so that it doesn’t have a chance of spreading,” Worobey said.

The first human infection could have happened around the time when the colonial cities were established in Africa. Rapid urbanization in colonial Africa around the beginning of the twentieth century may be responsible for the spread of the AIDS pandemic. It is estimated that several thousand people were infected by the 1960s. Today, HIV infection is reported in 33 million people and has killed 25 million. Researchers opine that an understanding of the origin and pathways for human infection of the virus could help in developing a vaccine to fight it.



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July 24, 2008

African AIDS prevalence may be physiological

Filed under: Africa,AIDS,Health — admin @ 5:00 am

Thursday, July 24, 2008

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A new study shows that a variation in a gene known as the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines, or simply DARC, may introduce an unknown vulnerability that could lead to a 40% greater risk of contracting HIV, the precursor to AIDS. The genetic variation is found in two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africans.

This particular variation on the gene, in which a single genetic letter is flipped, is thought to be a defense mechanism against malaria. It stops the growth of the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium vivax. Concurrently, it also causes chemokines (proteins secreted by cells) to avoid red blood cells, an opposite behavior of the typical Duffy gene.

An on-going study of African American Airmen has found that the group infected with HIV was more likely to lack red blood cells that host the Duffy gene. The study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, does not identify why the absence of the chemokine receptor in red blood cells increases susceptibility to HIV, but the occurrence of the virus in such people is beyond the levels of chance.

The study also found that those carrying the DARC variant lived longer with HIV/AIDS. While this comes as good news to those already infected, it also means that the window for the unwitting spread of HIV is now known to be wider, since infected individuals with the gene mutation can take an average of two years longer to show symptoms. In terms of numbers, the two years of unknowingly being a source for infection translates into as much as 11% of AIDS cases in Africa.


Sources

  • “Genetic Variation Raises HIV Risk in People of African Descent”. Genomics Proteomics, July 23, 2008
  • Keith Alcorn “Gene that protects against malaria may increase HIV risk in Africans”. Aidsmap, July 21, 2008
  • “DARC continent”. The Economist, July 17, 2008
  • Tina Hesman Saey “HIV after DARC”. Science News, July 16, 2008
  • John Lauerman “Genetic Variation May Raise AIDS Infection Risk in Africans”. Bloomberg L.P., July 16, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

May 18, 2008

35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer

Sunday, May 18, 2008

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An HIV-positive man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, one day after being convicted of harassment of a public servant for spitting into the eye and open mouth of a Dallas, Texas police officer in May 2006. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that no one has ever contracted HIV from saliva, and a gay-rights and AIDS advocacy group called the sentence excessive.

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding from cultured lymphocyte Image: C. Goldsmith, CDC.

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding from cultured lymphocyte
Image: C. Goldsmith, CDC.

A Dallas County jury concluded that Willie Campbell, 42, used his saliva as a deadly weapon when he spit on policeman Dan Waller in 2006. The incident occurred while Campbell was resisting arrest while being taken into custody for public intoxication.

“He turns and spits. He hits me in the eye and mouth. Then he told me he has AIDS. I immediately began looking for something to flush my eyes with,” said Waller to The Dallas Morning News.

Officer Waller responded after a bystander reported seeing an unconcious male lying outside a building. Dallas County prosecutors stated that Campbell attempted to fight paramedics and kicked the police officer who arrested him for public intoxication.

35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer
It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears.
35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer

—Bebe Anderson, Lambda Legal

Prosecutors said that Campbell yelled that he was innocent during the trial, and claimed a police officer was lying. Campbell’s lawyer Russell Heinrichs said that because he had a history of convictions including similarly attacking two other police officers, biting inmates, and other offenses, he was indicted under a habitual offender statute. The statute increased his minimum sentence to 25 years in prison. Because the jury ruled that Campbell’s saliva was used as a deadly weapon, he will not be eligible for parole until completing least half his sentence.

35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer
If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.
35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer

—Craig Watkins, Dallas County DA

The organization Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), which advocates for individuals living with HIV, says that saliva should not be considered a deadly weapon. Bebe Anderson, the HIV projects director at Lambda Legal, spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the sentence. “It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears,” said Anderson.

The Dallas County prosecutor who handled the trial, Jenni Morse, said that the deadly weapon finding was justified. “No matter how minuscule, there is some risk. That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death,” said Morse. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins stated: “If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.”

35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer
Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.
35 years for HIV-positive man who spit on Dallas police officer

CDC, HIV and Its Transmission

A page at the CDC’s website, HIV and Its Transmission, states: “HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some AIDS patients.” The subsection “Saliva, Tears, and Sweat” concludes that: “Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.” On Friday the Dallas County Health Department released a statement explaining that HIV is most commonly spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, or transfusion from an infected blood product.


Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about HIV.
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer

HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

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An HIV-positive man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, one day after being convicted of harassment of a public servant for spitting into the eye and open mouth of a Dallas, Texas police officer in May 2006. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that no one has ever contracted HIV from saliva, and a gay-rights and AIDS advocacy group called the sentence excessive.

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 (in green) budding from cultured lymphocyte
Image: C. Goldsmith, CDC.

A Dallas County jury concluded that Willie Campbell’s act of spitting on policeman Dan Waller in 2006 constituted the use of his saliva as a deadly weapon. The incident occurred while Campbell, 42, was resisting arrest while being taken into custody for public intoxication.

“He turns and spits. He hits me in the eye and mouth. Then he told me he has AIDS. I immediately began looking for something to flush my eyes with,” said Waller to The Dallas Morning News.

Officer Waller responded after a bystander reported seeing an unconscious male lying outside a building. Dallas County prosecutors stated that Campbell attempted to fight paramedics and kicked the police officer who arrested him for public intoxication.

Cquote1.svg It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears. Cquote2.svg

—Bebe Anderson, Lambda Legal

Prosecutors said that Campbell yelled that he was innocent during the trial, and claimed a police officer was lying. Campbell’s lawyer Russell Heinrichs said that because he had a history of convictions including similarly attacking two other police officers, biting inmates, and other offenses, he was indicted under a habitual offender statute. The statute increased his minimum sentence to 25 years in prison. Because the jury ruled that Campbell’s saliva was used as a deadly weapon, he will not be eligible for parole until completing at least half his sentence.

Cquote1.svg If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury. Cquote2.svg

—Craig Watkins, Dallas County DA

The organization Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), which advocates for individuals living with HIV, says that saliva should not be considered a deadly weapon. Bebe Anderson, the HIV projects director at Lambda Legal, spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the sentence. “It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears,” said Anderson.

The Dallas County prosecutor who handled the trial, Jenni Morse, said that the deadly weapon finding was justified. “No matter how minuscule, there is some risk. That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death,” said Morse. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins stated: “If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.”

Cquote1.svg Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV. Cquote2.svg

—CDC, HIV and Its Transmission

A page at the CDC’s website, HIV and Its Transmission, states: “HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some AIDS patients.” The subsection “Saliva, Tears, and Sweat” concludes that: “Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.” On Friday the Dallas County Health Department released a statement explaining that HIV is most commonly spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, or transfusion from an infected blood product.



Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
HIV
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