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Very Simple Question


Hi there my question is in order for HIV to infect a person it has
to have direct access to the body via blood to blood contact or through a
mucous membrane during sex. My question is can HIV get into the body by semen
that gets on the clitoris and inner labia of the vagina but not actually into
the vaginal opening. Would it still have access into the body that way?


Thank-you for choosing AIDS Vancouver as your resource for HIV related information.
It would be possible for the virus to be transmitted in the fashion you have described but it would definitely be dependent on very specific factors and would have to be dealt with on a case by case basis. According to the Canadian AIDS Society, non-insertive masturbation is no risk of HIV infection. This means that even if HIV+ bodily fluids contacted the surface of the clitoris or labia, but there was no insertive exchange of bodily fluids then there is no risk.
While the virus does not live long outside the body, it is possible for it to survive on these parts (the clitoris and inner labia), and then to be transported into the vagina (through sexual intercourse or using sex toys) However, the virus must have direct access to the blood stream in order for transmission to occur, so if the individual's clitoris or labia came in contact with the HIV semen but that fluid did not have access to the their blood stream through the vagina, then HIV transmission is not possible. It would be highly unlikely that the virus would be able to survive for a long period of time in those areas you've mentioned if no other sexual activities followed (as the virus needs to be inside a human host to survive and dies rather quickly when exposed to air/is outside of the body.
Hopefully this answers your question. Should you have any follow-up concerns please don't hesitate to call us.
Best wishes,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer