We are about to sell our house and therefore the realtor invites people for open houses almost every weekend. 

I am concerned with the fact that if someone injects HIV fluid into a gel I use to treat hemorrhoids and also into Vaseline that we use to lube a rectal thermometer to take our daughters temperature. We used the Vaseline one to two hours after the open house and the gel 10 days after. 

I am afraid that either of these ointments will contain HIV and infect us when using it for treating hemorrhoids and taking the temperature in rectum. 

I have learned that HIV does not survive outside the body and dies when exposed to air / the environment? Is this true and does this also hold true in the situation described above? Would the gel and Vaseline work as an airtight environment and keep the virus alive for more than 1 hour? I have previously asked a question about HIV in Vaseline where you said it was a negligible risk. I have now provided some more information for you to hopefully be able to make an assessment.

Thank you. 

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry with updated information from your previous post. From what we gather from the updated information, you are worried about HIV transmission from someone possibly injecting HIV fluid into a hemorrhoids gel or Vaseline which was then used in the rectal area.

From the information given, this scenario would still be considered to be of Negligible Risk (there is no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. However, there is a theoretical possibility of transmission under certain extenuating circumstances)

Transmission is considered to be of Negligible Risk for the following reasons:

To begin with, you are correct in saying that HIV does not survive outside the body very long and undergoes a rapid decrease in concentration after being exposed to air (1). However, in the scenario you describe, if the HIV fluid was theoretically injected into the Vaseline or hemorrhoid gel, it would provide a hypoxic environment and the HIV might be able to survive a little longer in that given scenario. Although, there have been NO documented cases of this occurring. I would also imagine that preserving the integrity of the HIV fluid from getting it into the injecting device to the moment of actually injecting it into the Vaseline or gel would be difficult. There is a fine-line between this scenario being Low/High Risk given that the three components of our Transmission Equation (see below) are technically met, but taking into account the unlikeliness of such an event occurring in addition to no currently documented cases of transmission occurring being reported, this would be better classified as Negligible Risk. If you are worried about such an event occurring in the future, I would recommend getting a new container of Vaseline or the hemorrhoids gel if possible.

Please refer to our HIV Transmission Equation below for more information:


Recommendation: There are no evidence or documented cases of transmission. Refer to a healthcare professional for more personalized answers.

(1) HIV & Oxygen Reference

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