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2 different answers from CDC helpline???
Nov 18, 2004

hi, i called the CDC helpline twice, asked the same question, and received different answers. my question is...can hiv be contracted thru the urethra during unprotected vaginal sex? one operator told me yes because the skin inside the urethra is a mucous membrane. the next operator told me no. he said that there would have to be cuts on the penis in order for hiv to enter the bloodstream. will you please tell me the correct answer? thank you

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The correct answer was given by CDC operator number one. HIV can be transmitted across mucous membranes and the urethra is indeed lined with a mucous membrane. Consequently, if it comes in contact with infected fluids, HIV transmission can occur.

I have not idea why operator number two told you what he/she did. Obviously he/she needs a bit more training before being allowed to field these questions. You might want to call him/her back. Sounds like the helpline could use some help itself.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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