Anonymous

Hi,

I’m coming to terms with the fact I have health anxiety but I’d just like to confirm that this irrational thought really has no base in reality.

Basically I bought a pair of mesh underwear from Depop sold by a gay man. We spoke and he said some people ask him to ‘do the deed’ in the underwear and offered to do it for me, to which I declined.

My fear isn’t that he has done this, because there was no visible indication and later said he’d cleaned them before sending. 


I’ve worn the pants normally and have washed them myself but recently decided to put them on for a few minutes, of which time my foreskin was retracted.
By this, I’ve somehow convinced myself that this has posed a transmission risk. I must stress too that the underwear have not been worn in 45 weeks and I believe to have washed them myself.

Basically: is there a risk of hiv because I’ve worn a pair of underwear sold by a gay man where on one occasion my foreskin was retracted? (Thus meaning if dry bodily fluid had somehow survived that it was exposed to the mucous membrane of the meatus)


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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 acquiring HIV after wearing secondhand underwear. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be 
No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

In order for transmission to occur, a number of requirements must be met (see below). 

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HIV transmission requires the presence of HIV positive fluid (such as semen, vaginal fluid, pre-cum, rectal fluid, breastmilk, etc), coupled with a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity, that provides the virus direct access to the bloodstream. 

The activity you described above is of No Risk as the transmission equation is not satisfied. This is due to the fact that "HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host" (1). HIV undergoes a rapid reduction in concentration once it is exposed to oxygen. Therefore, in the event that there was dried HIV positive fluid present on the underwear, the virus would be rendered inactive following exposure to oxygen and would be considered intransmissible. 


Recommendation: 
No need for HIV testing with the scenario provided. Refer to a healthcare professional for other health related questions.


Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Ashley

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Additional Resources:
HIV inactive CDC (1)

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