Investigators reported the posibility of HIV transmission when HIV-positive caregivers pre-chew infant's food. In three previously unreported cases of pediatric infection, dating back to 1993, the common thread was that caregivers had pre-chewed food to give to infants, according to Kenneth Dominguez, M.D., of the CDC.
This study came about when 3 children became infected between 1993 and 2000 without any known route of transmission. What did they all have in common? Pre-chewed food! In two cases, the mother was HIV-positive and transmitted the virus to her child, while in the third case -- with an HIV-negative mother -- the virus was passed from an infected great aunt who had been caring for the infant.
The researchers said that in two cases, the caregiver was known to have had bleeding gums or sores in the mouth at the time she was pre-chewing food for the baby. The third caregiver could not remember such lesions. Also, one of the infants was teething and had had oral candidiasis during the period when she was given pre-chewed food, the researchers said. The combination of lesions in the mouths of the children and their HIV-positive infected caregivers might have allowed viral entry.
Two of the children are still living, while a third died of AIDS.