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A quick breakdown on how HIV can be transmitted.

This topic aims to show ways in which HIV can and cannot be transmitted. It ties in with a recently published topic found here http://www.drtanandpartners.com/how-does-hiv-enter-the-body/.

 

This topic will be split into 3 parts; Definite ways of HIV transmission, theoretical ways of transmission, and no way of transmission.

 

Bear in mind that in order for HIV to be transmitted fluid from a positive person has to come into contact with the negative person. Semen and blood hold high loads of the virus but saliva and vaginal fluid hold very little.

HIV-modes-of-transmission

According to Singapore Ministry of Health UPDATE ON THE HIV/AIDS SITUATION IN SINGAPORE 2014.

Definite ways of HIV transmission (risk will be listed as risk per 10000 – so 1/10000 means that for every 10000 people who engage in that activity, 1 person will become infected.

  • Blood transfusion – 9250/10000 (this is only with HIV infected blood which is very rare nowadays as every donor blood sample is screened before use).
  • Needle sharing in intravenous drug use – 63/10000.
  • Needlestick injury – 23/10000.
  • Receptive anal sexual intercourse – 138/10000.
  • Insertive anal sexual intercourse – 11/10000
  • Receptive penile-vaginal sexual intercourse – 8/10000
  • Insertive penile-vaginal sexual intercourse – 4/10000
  • Receptive and insertive oral sexual intercourse – low (too low for accurate numbers).

 

HIV_transmission-risk

Estimated risk per exposure to HIV transmission: assume that the ‘source partner’ is always HIV-positive. For a partner of unknown status, the risk is affected by the prevalence of HIV in the relevant community – i.e., the chance that the partner does in fact have HIV. Unless otherwise stated, the sexual acts are always without a condom.

 

Theoretical ways of HIV transmission:

  • Blood contact onto an open wound – possible but an unlikely scenario as open wounds should be tended immediately in order to reduce the risk of other infections. The risk of a bacterial infection would be higher than an HIV infection.
  • Blood contact onto mouth or eyes – again possible but extremely unlikely unless you happen to be in a horror movie.
  • Dried blood – although HIV can survive in dried blood for several days, the environment has to be favourable and transfer this way is very very unlikely.

 

No risk of HIV transmission:

  • Breathing the same air as someone.
  • Touching a toilet seat or door knob.
  • Drinking from a water fountain.
  • Hugging, kissing or shaking hands (although kissing may transfer fluids the level of virus in saliva is so low as to make the risk negligible).
  • Sharing utensils.
  • Sharing gym equipment.
  • Skin to skin contact with an HIV positive person even if they happen to have fluid of unknown origin on them (particularly applies to commercial sex workers).
  • Biting or scratching that does not break the skin or draw blood.
  • Essentially, as mentioned above, fluid-fluid contact is necessary for transmission – if this hasn’t happened then there is no risk for HIV.

 

I hope this helps answer most questions that concern people over possible ways of HIV transmission – if new questions pop up I will try and add to this topic to help allay people’s fears.

 

 

Feel free to email your queries, feedback and suggestions on what other topics you want to see in the comments section below.

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466 Comments

  1. Dear Doctor,
    is it true that when an opening cut or wound come in contact with the HIV virus… the HIV virus will not transmit through minor small wound or cut, but will only be able to transmit through deep or big opening wound where the virus can enter through the blood vessels… Am I right in saying that?
    Thank you.

  2. HIV route

    I accidentally poked under my nail with plastic and now my nail slightly lifted from the nail bed. There isn’t any bleeding visible. Just part of my nail is lifted from the bed. Does the nail bed provide protection like the skin does or is it possible for HIV to transmit through the nail bed?? Worried. Also is it possible to get HIV from touching things & eating without washing hands?

    • You will not get HIV in this manner.

      • Hello Doctor,

        I’m a guy who had anal sex with another guy. While in the act, I saw that there was a lot of excess fluid (lube and anal fluid) on the condom. When removing the condom, a large amount of fluid fell on my penis head. The next day I woke up with a horrible sore throat and cold. Although, I used a condom during the act, am I at risk for hiv due to my penis head coming into contact with the excess fluid?

        Thanks,
        Worried John

  3. Hello doctor,
    M very much worried after my exposure with csw.i had protected sex with csw. She was very wet. She used lube . After i ejaculated and i pulled out my penis there was lot of white fluid near my genitals. She removed my condom by tissue. The she took a new tissue and wiped all the way to penis tip and some white fluid got contact with my penis tip. Then i wiped again it with a tissue. M worried about this incidebt . Can i get infected by hiv?. Do i need pep?

  4. Any risk

    Is it possible to get HIV from mucus/ nasal secretions coming in contact with acne? Are there any risks?

    • Big mistake

      Had oral sex on a sex worker. I have hpv. I had a pretty open sore on my tongue, and brushed my teeth and tongue vigorously before performing oral sex on the sex worker. I was very drunk. I didn’t know I had the pretty open sore. Now I’m very worried that I contracted or spread any number of STDs. HIV, herpes, etc… risks? What should I do?

      • Your risk for HIV is essentially zero, but there are other potential STDs you can contract or transmit through oral sex. It is best to visit us for a proper consult and evaluation.

        • Big mistake

          Thanks Doc. I will come in for a consultation. I can schedule the necessary testing with you, I assume. Need some psychiatric help w depression and self destructive behaviors as well, obviously. Gotta get my life on track.

  5. Dear Doctor,

    I visited Petain Road recently and had a sexual intercourse with a sex worker. We didn’t have any oral sex or kissing but mainly only sexual intercourse. I used a Dulex condom during the intercourse.

    Since it is understood for us that using a condom during intercourse can’t reach a 100% safe from HIV, but after the intercourse, I checked for any fault or damage on the condom by putting water into it to check, and everything was fine with the condom.

    So in my situation now, am I at risk from the HIV? Do I need to go for a blood test?

    Thank you

    • Your risk is very low with protected sex, but not zero risk. If you are concerned, please visit us for a proper consult and testing.

      • Dear Doctor, thank you for your reply.

        So since my present situation isn’t a zero risk, then where will be the risk from? Since there was an undamaged condom serving as a “wall” in blockage to any virus like the HIV.

  6. to DR,

    I had unprotected sex with bar girl 20 months ago and i still no sympthons till now but i know some people no sympthons at all..I know my risk is high with unprotected sex..May i know what is my risk? Am i still got hope? Please tell me,i really worried a lot,thanks…

  7. To Dr,

    1.5-2 years ago i had unprotected sex with a bar girl..Now i think back i very scared…I really very scared and cant accept if i really infected with Hiv…

  8. I’m in the carribean in Dominican republic my cousin step on a nail it had a pointy object from the street it got stuck on his feet from day to night he took the nail of his feet then threw it at me it hit my arm not knowing if that nail was infected or had blood on it so when he trew it at me it stink my arm n pitch it like the pointy part hit my arm can I get hiv that way this has me very worry ?

  9. I got a massage 3 weeks ago where she ended up getting on top of me and rubbed her wet vagina on my penis. I believe the my urethral orifice touched her wet vagina for a minute or so and I have been stressing ever since. If she has done this with me then she has probably done the same with hundreds of others. It’s been 3 weeks now and I’m so anxious. I’ve had a sore throat for the last few days and feeling nauseous. I had a tetanus vaccination 7 days ago and have had some side effects from that so I don’t know if that’s related. I don’t know what to do, some sites say no risk then I just read a post from a guy saying he tested positive after only genital rubbing. I’m going crazy, how can I wait 12 weeks to get tested when I’m so nervous and miserable every day since? Some advice would be greatly appreciated

  10. Dear Dr.

    Thanks in advance for tge great help.

    A sex worker touched my lips briefly (for a second or two) with her finger after playing with her nipples and vagina. I didn’t feel any fluid and I didn’t open my mouth. No intercourse and no oral.

    Is there any risk for HIV/STDs?

    Few days after that I got small sore inside my mouth (I usually get them from time to time, not sure if it’s related).

    Really thanks for the support.

  11. Dear Doctor, physiologically I am in great fear of contacting HIV virus. This abstain me from having sex with strangers and not even with protected sex. Eventually it caused me to be frustrating and unbalance. So I ended up visited a sex worker. The fear of HIV virus made me not having sexual intercourse with her but I only fingering into her vagina. And I wore a rubber grove plus putting on a Dulex condom onto my fingers while fingering into her vagina.
    After that I checked for any damages on the grove and condom by putting water into them to test, and everything were fine.
    In this case, am I safe from HIV virus? Should I go for a test? Or am I over worry and fear? Thank you.

  12. i bought a new toilet seat i have a cut on my penis everyone use that toilet seat let say there was blood on the toilet seat if i was to sit down & my cut on my penis touch the toilet seat blood can i get hiv and if there was no blood on the toilet seat but i have a cut on my penis can i get hiv that way or in both ways i just explain im really scared about this ?

  13. i had a cut on my face and i wash my face with a bar of soap people use to wash there hands let say the person wash there hand and they have a cut on there hand and i go use it and wash my face with the bar of soap people use if they have a cut and i have it on my face can u get hiv or are u at risk ?

  14. Any risk difference if the person went for a handjob only once, and went to handjob 4 times? No sex and all but just touchin boob and hairy vagina. What im referring to is std/sti infection doctor. I know hiv is no risk for this.

  15. dr, i had expose from csw last 2 weeks, there are not involved any penetration sex, oral sex). i was received protected handjob by her for an minute. the concern parts was, she was take out her clothes and pants (i am not sure she got take out underwear or not) but if her hand got vaginal fluids then touch some object such as clothes and pants then open the condom for me and perform handjob for me. am i at the risk ?

  16. I have a cut on my penis from mastubation and i clean the cut woth soap and water is that good to clean a wound ? I dont put no hydrogen peroxide pr alchohol just water and soap but the bar of soap my father grab the soap box from the garbage to put the soap back in the box it came from can u get hiv that way or from any exposure having it out

  17. Is penis outer shaft skin of uncircumcised penis considered mucous membrane or permeable to hiv
    What if i hold my penis shaft skin with vaginal fluid on finger with no cuts

  18. dr, my expose was handjob with condom. the gal was handjob for me around 2 to 3 minute then i masturbate myself. i recall she and check her hand without any scratch and open wound and blood. i checked the time when she masturbate me, she was wear pants. but i was concern the below:
    1. if she have body fluid on her hand and touch other object such as clothes, pants and phone. then touch my penis with condom (during handjob for 2 minute), is this will be the risk?
    thks.

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