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how does hiv infect thru penis?

Sep 26, 2002

hi there,one simple question,How on earth does hiv manage to travel up a penis and into the blood stream?I know hetro men get it but in this way it seems so unlikely to occur.Do most hetro men with hiv have other stds which assisted in the hiv infection? hope to hear from you,thnx

Response from Mr. Kull

When thinking about how HIV infects a person, consider the model for transmission:

HIV infected fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions)

coming into contact with

Mucous membranes (the lining of the vagina, rectum, urethra, or mouth) or the bloodstream

The lining of the urethra of the penis (the tube you pee out of) is comprised of mucous membranes. Cells that line the mucous membranes are susceptible to HIV and can lead to infection. There does not need to be cuts or sores present on mucous membranes for transmission to occur, though the presence of cuts or sores can increase the risk of transmission.

There is also some evidence to suggest that the interior lining of the foreskin in uncircumcised men is also composed of cells that are prone to HIV infection. This might mean that uncircumcised men are at greater risk for infection during insertive sex than circumcised men.


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