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sharing underwear.

Question: 

My friend (who has a lot of unprotected sex) told me I could use her shorts to sleep in so she took them off and gave them to me to put on. She wasn't wearing underwear with them and neither was I...she may have had some discharge in them when I put them on. Am I at risk?

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about acquring HIV through sharing used underwear. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

HIV is transmitted by bodily fluids that have direct access to the bloodstream through a high risk activity (1).

There may have been bodily fluid discharge on the used underwear that you put on yourself but this will not result in HIV transmission. If the discharge has dried this would mean that the bodily fluid has been outside the body for some time and would be considered inactive due to exposure to the environment. HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host (2).

It is recommended for personal hygiene to not share used underwear in the future due to the possibility of exposure to other health concerns such as STI's.

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Danielle