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No documented Vaginal Fluid transmissions?
Oct 8, 1996

Dr. Sowadsky, I've read that sweat, tears and saliva also contain some traces of HIV in an infected person. If one were to obtain these and then inject them directly to the bloodstream, can one get infected? I ask this because I was recently playing ball in a public playground and really scratched myself up. When people came to help, there sweat was just dropping on my wide-open wounds. So if even injection of these substances won't get you infected, then I should be OK.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Saliva, tears, sweat and urine do contain the HIV virus, but in such small concentrations that we have not seen any cases of HIV transmission linked to any of these body fluids. If however there were visible blood in these body fluids, then there would be a risk of infection.

Theoretically, if we were to inject these body fluids directly into the blood, theoretically, infection would be possible since the virus is found in these body fluids (although in extremely low concentrations). However, theoretically, almost anything is possible. We must look into the realistic, tangible data, rather than the theoretical.

Realistically, your risk of infection under the situation you spoke of is extremely low. Nobody has ever been infected through sweat and no cases of HIV infection have been linked to sweat. So even if the sweat of these people got into your open wounds, your risk would be very very low. In fact, if you did become infected this way, you would be the very first person in the entire world to get infected by sweat.....that's how low your risk would be!

So in summary, theoretically, there would be a risk of infection. But realistically, the virus has never been transmitted through sweat, and your risk of infection would be extremely remote!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS



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