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Section: general-health, sexuality

Dear Ann Landers,
My boyfriend and I have a beautiful 9-month-old baby. We live together and adore this child. Here's the problem. My cousin, "Nellie," has a boyfriend who is HIV positive. I know for a fact that she is having unprotected sex with him. I strongly suspect that Nellie is HIV positive, but I have no proof, and Nellie has never brought up the subject. When Nellie came to our house last week, she kissed our baby on his hands and face. The baby then placed his hands in her mouth and then back into his own mouth. I felt extremely uncomfortable about this, especially since the baby is teething and any kind of germ could easily get into the openings in his gums. I realize it is unlikely, if not impossible, to transmit HIV through saliva, but this still makes me uneasy. Nellie doesn't realize we are aware of her sexual behavior, because we were told in confidence. I don't know how to approach her about this and am reluctant to have her visit. Is it possible our baby will contract HIV this way? Please help me. I am turning into a nervous wreck. -- Upset Mom in Calif.

Dear Upset Mom,
It is extremely unlikely that your baby is infected. People don't get HIV from touching the saliva of an HIV-infected person. For your own peace of mind, you should go to the library and read up on the subject or talk to your doctor about this. As for Nellie, if she is having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive male, she is in grave danger of becoming infected, if it hasn't already happened. Don't WAIT for an opportunity to discuss this; MAKE one, even if it seems a bit awkward. This is no time for social niceties. Tell Nellie to discuss this with a health professional at once. That girl needs help.

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Reader Comment
How inconsiderate (and very stupid) is this "Nellie"? Yes, mom should take her baby to her pediatrician immediately! If Nellie wants to have unprotected sex with a known HIV infected person, I would not let her around the baby. It can be transmitted in body fluids, and saliva is still considered a bodily fluid, isn't it?

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Who puts a baby's hand in their mouth? That is disgusting!
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Dear Readers,
, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat."
-Ann Landers