The New York State Court of Appeals is currently hearing a case where the prosecutor hold the opinion that Saliva from an HIV infected person should be treated as a deadly weapon. You can read the full text of the article here.
The case stems from an incident where an HIV+ man allegedly "bit,spit, urinated, and deficated during a struggle with a police investigator."
I had a lengthy discussion yesterday with a friend about this who was really uninformed on HIV transmission. His first comments were " The exchange of saliva to blood has a much higher risk factor than saliva to saliva, which is almost non-existent. It is not near as high as seminal fluid or blood to blood trasnfer, but the risk is still there. There have been two times since I started when an officer was bitten to the point of broken skin and both were put on the "AIDS cocktail" to help prevent infection due to the risk factors by a doctor."
The problem with including saliva as a deadly weapon is that you cannot become infected from saliva. HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and is spinal fluid. The argument the prosecutor is making is regressive and reminds me of paranoia that occured during the 1980's.
There is a possibility one could become infected from a bite/puncture (if there is blood to blood contact) and teeth can under certain circumstances be considered a deadly weapon. But Saliva? This is rediculous punative witch hunt. LAMBDA LEGAL is involved and hopefully we will see the prosecutors argument dispelled. If the argument is upheld this could set precedent for those living with HIV and again cause them to be treated as criminals. I really thought we had moved past this nonsense.