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Is transmission possible?
Feb 24, 2002

Hi, I sat in a Jacuzzi for 2 hours with a lady who was hiv positive, could I have caught it, should I get tested? We didn't have sex, this time, but if we did, is transmission, more, or less likely in water, than anywhere else? I'm a male. Thank you for your help.

Response from Mr. Kull

There is no evidence that you would get infected with HIV by contact with anything in a public environment; this includes hot tubs, public pools, showers, towels, saunas, steamrooms, etc. There is no evidence that HIV has been transmitted through casual contact. HIV does not survive in the environment for very long (that includes water) and you would need to have mucous membrane/bloodstream contact for transmission to be possible.

The heated water in a hot tub would probably render HIV inactive (especially if there were chemicals in the water). Also, the water would probably dilute any infectious fluid to uninfectious levels. It is also unlikely that any other STDs would be spread through sitting in a hot tub.

Based on the epidemiological knowledge of HIV and its transmission, there is no evidence that HIV has been transmitted through casual contact. It's important to remember that HIV is only known to be transmitted through the following three ways:

1) Sexual contact: anal, vaginal, and oral sex

2) Blood-to-blood contact: sharing injection needles, occupational exposures, blood transfusions (which is rare in the U.S.).

3) Mother-to-infant: either through delivery or during breast feeding

If you are not engaging in any of the above activities, the risk of transmission is theoretical, at best.

RMK



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