Senior figure disuputes that HIV can be spread via toothbrush – Health News Scotland


HIV Scotland have issued a short statement following a news article published on which stated HIV could be passed on via a toothbrush.

Dr Nigel Carter, the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said “There are many hundreds of different bacteria and viruses in our mouths. Those sharing a toothbrush could be passing these on to others,

“This might be something relatively harmless, such as a common cold or cold sore. But if the person you are sharing with is infected with hepatitis B, HIV and now coronavirus, these could also be passed on via the toothbrush, with severe health consequences.

“Storing toothbrushes in the same container has always been a bad idea. But today this separation has become a real necessity.”

Toothbrushes - Health News Scotland
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Commenting on this, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, Nathan Sparling said:

“We are all much more aware of viruses in the last 9 months, but myths and misinformation about HIV are still very prevalent in our society.

“It is quite shocking to see a senior figure being quoted as saying HIV is passed on from sharing toothbrushes. This is rooted in stigma and misinformation going back almost 40 years. I can’t believe that in 2020 I have to issue a statement to clarify that HIV is not transmitted through toothbrushes.

“HIV cannot be passed on by sharing toothbrushes as once the virus is outside the body, HIV has a very short life and would be weakened by exposure to air, water and the practicalities involved in sharing a toothbrush.

“Whilst sharing a toothbrush might pose other infection risks – such as COVID-19 – we must challenge the myths and misinformation about HIV.

“I have this morning spoken with Tom Ferris, Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer, to discuss what we can do to issue a clear and unequivocal statement to dentists in Scotland.”