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Ask Dr. K

I'm a woman. I went to a huge gay club here in NJ about 4 weeks ago where there were hundreds and hundreds of sweaty men. I danced with them, touched their faces and shook hundreds of hands. When I got home, I noticed that I had 2 cuts on my right hand. Three weeks later, I had a terrible flu with fever, aches and diarrhea. I am now convinced I've been infected with HIV from the sweat of someone who was newly infected.

Sounds fun—the dancing part not the illness. You cannot get HIV from sweat, no matter how much sweat you touch, or how much gets into a cut. Sweat of a person infected with HIV does not contain HIV. Blood, semen, and vaginal fluids do contain HIV in HIV-infected people.

Shaking sweaty hands however is a great way to get the flu or flu-like viruses that cause colds. That is why handwashing is so important during flu and cold season.

If you are still concerned, the ONLY way to know if you have HIV is to get an HIV test. Click here to find an HIV testing site near you.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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