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is glans of penis made up of mucous membrane?
Oct 15, 2001

is our glans of penis made up of mucous membrane? let say if me drop vaginal or cervical fluid onto our glans of penis, can HIV been absorbed into our blood stream? through what route ( glans or urethra or any other way) is the hiv been absorbed?

Response from Mr. Kull

The glans of the penis is considered a mucous membrane (similar to the mucous membrane of the vagina or mouth), but may or may not play a role in transmission of HIV depending on certain factors. For one, a male who has been circumcised (the foreskin, an extension of the shaft of the penis that covers the flaccid penis and retracts when erect, is surgically removed) at a young age will develop a type of "skin" around the glans. It is believed, based on preliminary research in Africa, that this "skin" may provide some protective benefit when exposed to HIV infected fluids because circumcised men were much less likely to be infected with HIV when compared to uncircumcised men. Initial research on the biology of the glans and foreskin in uncircumcised men demonstrates that cells usually prone to HIV infection are present. Some earlier studies have shown that the glans of uncircumcised men were more prone to STD-related ulcers, which supports the idea of its susceptibility to HIV. The presence of STDs in or on the penis increases the risk of HIV transmission.

If you are uncircumcised, do not run out and get an operation. More studies need to be conducted to see exactly how susceptible the glans and foreskin are to HIV. Also, men who are circumcised in adulthood probably do not acquire a protective benefit because this protective sheath does not form.

The best protection is still the use of a condom for anal and vaginal sex.

RMK



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