8:29 pm - 04/26/2007

HIV in menstrual blood

OK, random, general, hypothetical situation.

Does HIV show up in menstrual blood? If a girl who is HIV positive is getting fingered while on her period, and her partner has a cut on his/her hand, does her partner risk getting infected? And what about having PIV sex during your period? I mean, ideally, the guy should wear a condom, but is the risk higher because there's so much blood around? And I always got the impression that HIV positive blood should be handled carefully; does a woman who has HIV need to dispose of her pads/tampons/menstrual cups in a special way, or can she throw them away like everyone else does?

Just curious.
frkyjenn 27th-Apr-2007 03:49 am (UTC)
What are the various ways of transmitting HIV?
The most common way of transmitting HIV, accounting for almost 80% of all incidences, is through sexual intercourse. Risks occur with the following practices:

* sexual transmission
o unprotected vaginal intercourse (both partners)
o unprotected anal intercourse (both partners)
o oral sex, if sperm or menstrual blood gets into the mouth
PROTECTIVE MEASURES: Always observe safe sex rules.
If penetration occurs, always use a condom. During oral sex, avoid getting sperm in your mouth - avoid menstrual blood in your mouth.


There is a theoretical risk of infection by fingering a woman, as vaginal fluids and menstrual blood can carry HIV, but the virus would have to enter your blood stream in order for you to become infected. If the woman you were with was HIV+, what you describe sounds like a low risk activity. Whether a sexual activity is safer or not depends on the chances of your partner's body fluids coming into contact with your blood and/or mucous membranes. Since you had an old cut on a thumb that was probably healed, the fluid contact is likely to be minimal and pose little or no risk for infection. On the other hand (no pun intended), fingering may cause an infection for the recipient if cuts are created by sharp or jagged nails and if the fingers and areas under the nails are not clean.


bravestpeach 27th-Apr-2007 03:57 am (UTC)
I could be wrong.

I read somewhere that vaginal fluid contained the virus, but in small amounts. But blood always carries it. I know people who use finger cots, and I thought this was the reason.

I don't know if they have to use universal precautions to dispose of anything.
kkgal42 27th-Apr-2007 04:15 am (UTC)
Blood and vaginal secretions both carry the virus, but blood has it in higher concentrations (the spectrum, from lowest to highest risk, goes blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk). So yes, theoretically if one was fingering a woman and had a cut on his/her finger, there is a risk of transmission, whether the woman is on her period or not. Being on her period would make infection more likely, though. Same goes for PIV sex.

As far as disposing of pads and tampons, I would imagine that it would be prudent to put them in something like a ziploc bag. However, HIV can't live too long once exposed to air, and generally as soon as the blood or other body fluids dry, the virus dies, and thus can't really be transmitted.
kkgal42 27th-Apr-2007 04:19 am (UTC)
Oh, and also, just to add more information you probably didn't need to know, the level of the virus in different fluids varies from person-to-person, depending on viral load. People are generally more contagious than usual during the first few weeks or months after infection, because the virus is replicating rapidly. This is really problematic, since most people are still in the window period during this stage, and thus don't test positive. The spectrum of the body fluids still holds, though, and those are the only 4 fluids that can transmit the virus.

Sorry, I run an HIV testing program and have been interviewing prospective testers all night, so I have HIV on the brain.
ryf 27th-Apr-2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
the spectrum, from lowest to highest risk, goes blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk

Other way around :)
kkgal42 27th-Apr-2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, haha, yeah, my bad. Highest to lowest is what I meant. Thanks for correcting me :).
Tia Job 28th-Apr-2016 10:10 pm (UTC)
Hey Doc, i got a question for you,
if someone is using a condom while having sex with a woman who is in her periods(assuming the woman is HIV+), IF at the time of removing the condom some of the menstrual blood touches the penis, does that person contact HIV? Thanks In Advance For Your Answer
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