Anonymous
Hallo there,

I have a question that intrigues me, and I can't seem to find a conclusive answer. Hope you can help.

Where does HIV enter the male's body?

Is it only trough the urethra or is the entire head of the penis sensitive for virus penetration?

Suppose a man gets masturbated by a women after she touched her own genitals, and the fluid touches the head of the penis during masturbation, is there a risk? Or does the virus only get in through the urethra? The last option would confirm that only penetrative sex is a true risk.

Thank you for the information.
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Anonymous
Hello

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

Technically, the answer to your question is that it is not site-specific but HIV needs direct access to the bloodstream of an HIV negative individual.

In men, parts of the body that tend to give direct access to the bloodstream are through the urethra, the anus, severely open cuts and sores on the body (freshly bleeding wounds), or sharing needles.

In the case of sexual activities, it is only the urethra and not the head of the penis because the head of the penis itself doesn't give access to the bloodstream. Just the urethra. And you are correct! Unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse is the highest risk activity.

So the way HIV transmission occurs is that body fluids of someone living with HIV (i.e. blood, semen, vaginal fluids) needs to gain direct access to your bloodstream. This usually happens in the context of unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse because HIV requires a CONTROLLED environment to survive. A controlled environment means a host within the human body such as a vagina or anus and therefore would give HIV the opportunity to grow. HIV is a weak virus outside the body; it dies within seconds of exposure to oxygen.

According to the situation you described I would suggest that you did not place yourself at risk. The vaginal fluid from the woman did not enter your bloodstream through non-insertive masturbation because it did not enter your urethra. Body fluids on the skin alone will not put you at risk of HIV transmission, in fact skin acts as a barrier against HIV infection.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

All the best,

Maggie

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer

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