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Girl bites boy; officials await HIV tests

(ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)

Two teenagers at a Largo summer camp are being tested for the virus that causes AIDS after a girl who might have been exposed to HIV bit a boy during an altercation this week, Largo officials said Friday.

The two 13-year-olds, whose names are not being released because of their age, were on a field trip Thursday to the St. Petersburg Coliseum.

Largo officials said the girl, who has an uncle with HIV, other relatives with hepatitis C and a mother who is a recovering addict, was tested for HIV on July 19 at the request of her mother. The mother told police that she wanted the test done because her daughter occasionally had drunk from glasses used by other family members.

The results of that test had not come back by Thursday afternoon when, on the trip to St. Petersburg, the girl bit a 13-year-old boy who was part of a group teasing her.

The boy's mother told Largo police that her son had teeth marks on his arm, but that she was not certain whether his skin had been broken. He was on another field trip to Orlando Friday and had not yet been tested, but police said they planned to meet him Friday evening at his bus to fill out forms. They've instructed his mother to take him directly to Largo Medical Center for a blood test.

"Whether the other child is HIV-positive _ we don't know that at this time," said Mary Nolen, Largo's assistant recreation parks and arts director. "We will be awaiting some kind of analysis there. I know that the child has some exposure within her extended family and that she's undergone tests."

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been medical reports in which HIV appeared to have been transmitted by a bite. In each of those cases, however, the bites caused severe trauma with extensive tissue tearing and the presence of blood.

Overall, according to the CDC, biting is not a common way of transmitting HIV. In fact, there are many reports of bites that did not result in HIV infection.

Nolen expects that the test results will be available in a few days. She said the girl would not be allowed to return until the investigation was complete and all the results were confirmed.

Nolen said the camp did not require a physical, but it asks parents to fill out medical forms to alert staff to any history of allergies or other medical issues that would require attention.

She said the girl's mother had never indicated a problem.

"I just think it is something new," she said.

_ Michael Sandler can be reached at 445-4174 or sandlersptimes.com.

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