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Ask Dr. K

If the scrotum makes contact with vaginal fluids, is it susceptible to the transmission of HIV & STDs?

Some STDs, such as HPV, Syphilis or Herpes, can be spread from infected skin to uninfected skin of another person through skin-to-skin contact. Although very unlikely, these could be spread from scrotum-vaginal fluid contact since only coming into contact with vaginal fluid would be unusual without contacting the vaginal mucosa (skin) as well.

HIV, however, is much harder to spread and the scrotum like most of the skin of the body has a thickened layer of protection that prevents infection with something like HIV. If HIV-infected blood drops on intact skin, infection will not occur. HIV infects shiny skin (mucosa) like the skin over the eye, inside the anus or vagina or the skin on the erect penis in an uncircumcised man. We now believe that HIV is spread from HIV-infected semen or vaginal or anal fluid coming into contact with the mucosa of someone who is uninfected. That infectious fluid likely has to enter the mucosa through a small tear or break in the skin caused by trauma during sex or another STD like herpes, HPV or syphilis. All those STDs have been shown to increase the spread of HIV.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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