Anonymous
Hi there,

I made a really stupid decision two+ months ago at a sugaring (alternative to waxing) place. They provide vaginal wipes to clean the area being sugared before the service begins, so I used one and placed it in the garbage. There isn't much in there except other wipes, loves, etc. After I was finished being sugared, I used another wipe to clean any excess sugar from my vaginal area. I opened the packet, carefully placed it in the garbage on top of my other wipe and when I was done with the second wipe (which I hadn't even used enough to unfold it), I placed it carefully on top of the wrapper. But, like an idiot and not wanting to take more wipes, I picked up the folded wipe I had just put down and wiped one other area. I'm not sure now whether I threw it out quickly thereafter and used another one to wipe again. I'm worried that the wipe could have come into contact with something, even though I don't think it touched anything else. Can you please let me know what kind of risk this poses? Thank you!
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thanks for contacting AIDS Vancouver for HIV/AIDS-related information.

The short answer is that you didn't place yourself at risk for HIV transmission. At all. Zero. Let me explain why:

For HIV transmission to occur, body fluids containing HIV (i.e. blood, semen, vaginal fluids) require direct access to the bloodstream. This is typically through activities like sharing needles or unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse. HIV needs a controlled environment (i.e. inside the body) to live. It does not live on surfaces, in garbages, etc, because it dies within 60 seconds of exposure to oxygen.

You should also know that HIV is not transmitted through the skin alone- it needs a massive opening. So using a wipe, even if it was in the garbage, poses no risk, not only because HIV does not live outside of the body but also because wiping around your vulva (your vagina is actually internal) doesn't provide access to your bloodstream.

I hope I've answered your question. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best,

Maggie

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer
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