Getting HIV through clothing?

Question

So I let a girl, who's HIV positive, borrow a pair of shorts that are mine. Is it possible that I can get infected with it?

Answer

No.

I know that HIV has been held out as this always lurking horrible monster that causes so much terror and fear in so many people. But in order to to combat the fear, it's really important for us to discuss the facts.

HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact such as kissing, hugging, crying, sharing utensils, rubbing genitals, sharing a toilet seat, bathtub, or sharing shorts. It must be transmitted from the mucous membranes of one human into the mucous membranes of another, hence why sexual contact and IV drug use are the most common ways. It does not live outside the body, so sharing clothes contains zero risk.

The other important thing to keep in mind is that some people who are HIV positive cannot transmit HIV to others. How is that so? Because someone who is living with HIV, who has an undetectable viral load for six months or longer, is humanly incapable of transmitting their virus to others (http://www.thebody.com/content/77932/sex-58000-times-with-undetectable-partners--zero-h.html).

Despite the science that is readily available about how HIV is and is not transmitted, many people are not aware of these facts. So as a reader of this column, I hereby assign you to tell ONE person about these facts in the next week. The facts being:

  1. HIV cannot be spread through casual contact like sharing clothing

  2. Someone HIV positive and undetectable for 6 months of longer cannot transmit HIV to others.

You will be doing your good deed as a quality person and helping others live with less fear.

For more information about HIV, please visit our resource page here at The Body.com at http://www.thebody.com/content/30024/hiv-transmission.html

Thank you for writing in and using this information to help others!