Worry235

Hi, first of all, thank you for your great job when doing this helpline. I would like to seek for your answer to this: can hiv  enter the body through the urethra on your penis? In case if some bloods of someone  with unknown status drop on the head of your penis, is this risk for hiv?

Thank you in advances !

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helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission from HIV (in blood or another bodily fluid) entering the body through the urethra and/or head of the penis. Because you have not stated a specific activity (e.g. vaginal intercourse), I will just discuss the question generally.

From the HIV Transmission Equation (see image below), HIV transmission requires HIV particles in a bodily fluid (e.g. vaginal fluids, blood, semen, etc.) to have direct access to the bloodstream through a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity.

Helpline Transmission Equation .jpg
As shown in the above picture, the urethra of the penis is indeed a possible entry point for HIV to have direct access into one's bloodstream

A High Risk activity for HIV transmission in this scenario would involve vaginal sex without a condom. A Low Risk activity for HIV transmission could be vaginal sex with a condom. A Negligible Risk activity in this scenario would be receiving oral sex without a barrier.

Depending on the specific activity that took place, that would correlate to a different risk assessment accordingly.

Generally speaking, if blood from someone of unknown status dropped on the head of the penis, this would NOT cause a risk for HIV transmission, due to the fact that HIV (contained in a body fluid such as blood) is extremely sensitive to the outer environment. Exposure to oxygen in an environment outside of the body causes HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration (1). From the CDC, HIV that may be contained in a fluid (e.g. blood), has a rapid (within several hours) reduction in concentration of 90-99% (1). 

Recommendation: If the specific activity in question is considered a High or Low Risk for HIV transmission, please refer to a health care provider for HIV testing. If the scenario warrants a Negligible or 'No Risk', then feel free to refer to a healthcare professional for other health related questions or for more personalized answers.

Best regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Shirley

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Additional Resources:
(1) HIV Environmental Exposure
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