A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control
Can HIV transmit through skin problems? I've been dealing with jock itch for a while. It's usually a red area with small bumps. It's usually itchy and I scratch it mostly. But it's not bleeding or I cannot see any 'open wounds'. I read so many things on internet that says 'If vaginal fluid contacts with non-intact skin, transmission may occur' But I do not know that what exactly is 'non-intact' skin? Is red skin can be considered as non-intact? Or, simply, does my jock itch creates enough room to contact the virus in vaginal fluids? Let me explain my situation from beginning: As I told you above, I've been dealing with jock itch. And I had a fully-protected vaginal sex 20 days ago. I didn't give oral, I only received for 20-25 seconds. There were kissing but she didn't have blood on her mouth or something. And before the sex or during the sex, I didn't scratch the area that has jock itch (usually the area between my testicles and inner leg). But I'm worried about if any vaginal fluid contacts with this area during the sex, is there any chance for me to contact HIV? Does the wound need to be actively bleeding or 'open (?) or any kind of skin problem is enough? And the last thing is: I tested with my partner in a clinic and they used Alere Determine HIV1/2 ag/ab combo (finger blood). Both of us were negative but she said that she had a suspectful sexual intercourse 37 days ago from testing day. Is it possible for a 4th gen point of care blood test to miss infections after 37-38 day? I also tested today in a lab which looks for p24ag+HIV1/2 AB and result came negative but it was only 18 days after this intercourse and my clinican said it's not enough. So I'm asking to you: Does jock itch (groin, inner leg etc.) creates a risk for me? Is 37-38 days enough to detect for a 4th gen test? Thank you!

Hi there and thanks for your question.

There are many factors that lead to HIV transmission and the different risks associated with getting HIV. 

In order for HIV to be transmitted, you need to basically consider 3 conditions:

1) There has to be a person with body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal or rectal fluids, breast milk) containing good quantity and quality of HIV 

2) An activity with another person (unprotected sex, sharing drug injection equipment, pregnancy or breastfeeding, occupational exposure)

3) An entry point in to the other person (rectum, vagina, mouth, vein, broken skin).

If any of these conditions are not present, HIV will not be transmitted. Even if HIV gets into the body, it will not necessarily result in infection.

This website has some great information on HIV and transmission: https://www.catie.ca/en/pif/fall-2011/exposure-infection-biology-hiv-transmission

The long and short of it is that based on what you have described, your risk is very very low...that said, if you are in doubt...getting tested is the best thing. Which is what you have done.

4th generation HIV tests are the really really good tests for detecting HIV early on. The main reason is that these tests look both for a part of the HIV virus itself, and your immune system response. 

I am not sure where you are writing from, but in BC, 4th generation tests are the first line blood tests done on people who have a blood test for HIV. 

These tests can usually pick up infection by about ~2-3 weeks (16-18 days) after an exposure. At 6 weeks, 99% of individuals infected with HIV will have detectable antibodies.

37-38 days after an exposure should be plenty enough time to pick up an infection if it were there.

I hope this answers your questions.

Health Nurse

This answer was posted on December 11, 2018

Community comments

Add a comment

Log in or register to post comments