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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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Opportunistic Infections and Your Pets

I Have a Job That Involves Working with Animals. Should I Quit?

  • Follow your worksite's rules to stay safe and reduce any risk of infection. Use or wear personal protective gear, such as coveralls, boots, and gloves.
  • Don't clean chicken coops or dig in areas where birds roost if histoplasmosis (his-to-plaz-MO-sis) is found in the area.
  • Don't touch young farm animals, especially if they have diarrhea.

Can Someone with HIV Give It to Their Pets?

No. HIV can not be spread to, from, or by cats, dogs, birds, or other pets. Many viruses cause diseases that are like AIDS, such as feline leukemia virus, or FeLV, in cats. These viruses cause illness only in a certain animal and cannot infect other animals or humans. For example, FeLV infects only cats. It does not infect humans or dogs.

Are There Any Tests a Pet Should Have Before I Bring It Home?

A pet should be in overall good health. You don't need special tests unless the animal has diarrhea or looks sick. If your pet looks sick, your veterinarian can help you choose the tests it needs.

What Should I Do When I Visit Friends or Relatives Who Have Animals?

When you visit anyone with pets, take the same precautions you would in your own home. Don't touch animals that may not be healthy. You may want to tell your friends and family about the need for these precautions before you plan any visits.

Should Children with HIV Handle Pets?

The same precautions apply for children as for adults. However, children may want to snuggle more with their pets. Some pets, like cats, may bite or scratch to get away from children. Adults should be extra watchful and supervise an HIV-infected child's handwashing to prevent infections.

For More Information

Free Referrals and Information

CDC National AIDS Hotline

(800) 342-AIDS (2437)
(24 hours/day)

(800) 344-SIDA (7432)
(8 am-2am EST)

(800) 243-7889
(deaf and hard of hearing)
(Monday-Friday 10am-10pm EST)

Free Materials

CDC National Prevention Information Network
(800) 458-5231
1-301-562-1098 (International)
P.O. Box 6003
Rockville, MD 20849-6003

Free HIV/AIDS Treatment Information

AIDS Treatment Information Service (ATIS)
(800) 448-0440

Project Inform
(800) 822-7422

Drugs Undergoing Clinical Trials

AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service (ACTIS)
(800) 874-2572

Social Security Benefits

Social Security Administration
(800) 772-1213

You also may request a personal earnings and benefit estimate statement to help you estimate the retirement, disability, and survivor benefits payable on your Social Security record.

To obtain information on the Child Health Insurance Program, please call: 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669)

WebMD Public Information from the CDC

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