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Mucous membrane on the penis

Nov 16, 2001

Hi Dr Kull,

In an uncircumcised person would the outer foreskin on the penis be considered a mucous membrane?

After a low risk exposure (protected oral sex) I touched my foreskin with my fingers which had some vaginal fluids on it.

Is this a risk?? Do you recommend a test for this?

Thank for your response

Response from Mr. Kull

The exterior of the foreskin is not considered a mucous membrane, so fluid contact with the surface will not pose a risk for infection. The glans of the penis (head) and the inner surface of the foreskin in uncircumcised men contain cells known to be receptive to HIV infection, but this might or might not play a role in transmission of HIV depending on certain factors. See my response to "Is glans of penis made up of mucous membrane?" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/PreventionSexual/Q79472.qna) for more detailed information.

It is most important to remember that HIV is not known to be transmitted this way (touching vaginal fluids and then touching your penis). Sexual transmission is known to occur during anal, vaginal, and oral sex.

RMK



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