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Semen on Bloody Pimple on Penis

Question: 

Hi,

I accidentally scratched a pimple on my penis which I think was a skin cyst. It was inflamed. Then it started bleeding.
My brother is HIV + recently diagnosed so he has a high viral load.

I was out of boxers so when my brother left the house. Like 10 seconds after, I went to his room and saw my boxers on the floor
which I assumed he accidentally used. So I just put it on and there was some gooey stuff - maybe semen maybe not.

Scared it have gotten on the bloody pimple. Is this a risk?

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about your risk of HIV transmission after you put on a pair of undewear(boxers) after your brother had used them and noticed some "gooey stuff" on them. You are concerned that you could acquire HIV if the "gooey stuff" touched a bloody pimple on your penis. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

When assessing risk of HIV transmission, it is not useful to speculate on the HIV status or viral load of a particular individual. To give a reliable assessment, we look at and assess the risk level of the activity in which an individual was engaged, and how that activity does or does not satisfy that HIV Transmission Equation(1).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation(1). It does not satisfy the equation because:

  • For transmission to occur the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation must be met: there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid (ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream (ie: inside of the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) paired with a high risk activity (ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)(1).

  • HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2).

  • HIV is not transmitted through social contact such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toilette or dishes, sharing clothing(2).

For the scenario you provided this means that the activity of wearing another person's underwear, even with an inflamed and slightly bleeding pimple, is a No Risk activity. HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2). This means that any "gooey stuff" inside the boxers was outside of the human host, exposed to environmental conditions, and unable to reproduce or transmit HIV to you. For transmission to occur, there must be direct access for HIV to enter the bloodstream. A slightly bleeding, inflamed pimple can be likened to that of a superficial cut. Superficial cuts simply are not deep enough, and do not provide the conditions necessary to allow for direct access to the bloodstream.

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided. Check out the resources listed below to learn more about HIV ans HIV Transmission. Refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary