[Question #749] Risk of infecting HIV

52 months ago
Dear Dr,
Last night I had a self-masturbation in an airplane bathroom (it was an international flight from China to Australia), and it lasted a few minutes. After finish, I cleaned my penis using the tissues provided in the bathroom. I am not sure if the tissues are clean or not, I am also not sure if someone else (other passengers) had contaminated the tissues, and I cleaned the glans and the penis very hard using the tissues. Now I have the following questions:
1. For my scenario, is there any possibility that I can be infected with HIV?
2. Is there anything I need to do now to stop bad things to possibly happen?
3. Do I need HIV testing?

Thanks very much for your time.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

It is impossible to acquire any STD from masturbating, no matter where you do it. The chance another passenger had contaminated the bathroom with sexual fluids is zero or close to it -- but even if that happened, you could not have been infected.So the answers to your questions are 1) No possibility at all; 2) You need not do anything; and 3) You do not need testing for HIV or any other STD.

Don't worry at all. I hope this information has helped. Best wishes, and enjoy Australia!

HHH, MD
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52 months ago
Dear Dr Handsfield,
Thanks very much for your answer. I will have one follow-up question. You said even if the tissues had been contaminated, I could still not be infected. Does it mean that even if the tissues had been contaminated with sexual fluids or blood from an HIV-positive person, and the contamination happened just recently, the possibility of infecting HIV for me is still ZERO? If so, could you briefly explain why? I remember that I was wiping my  glans and penis very hard using the toilet tissues.

Thanks and best regards.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
Yes, still zero. In the 3 decades of the known worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, nobody has ever been known to be infected in this way. Without sex or shared drug injection equipment, HIV is not transmitted. Don't worry about it.

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52 months ago
Dear Dr Handsfield,
Thanks a lot for your patience. But as I requested, could you please explain a little bit why HIV could not be transmitted through HIV-contaminated tissues in a scientific view? Shall I not worry at all about this just like it had never happened?

Best regards.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
Actually, I'm sure it could be so transmitted, if the conditions were just right. But those conditions are so unlikely that as far as we know, it has never happened. In other words, the biological reasons don't matter. That tells you that the traditional risks are the only ones that matter and that the biological reasons don't matter. If it has never happened, who cares? This is like worrying whether you might be struck by a meteorite. I cannot guarantee it won't happen, but I would not advise you to take any precautions against it.

And really, are you truly serious in worrying that someone else masturbated in the bathroom, used the tissues to clean up, then put the tissues back where they started, and left them so neatly folded that you didn't notice? And that you wiped yourself without noticing they were wet with semen or other fluid?


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52 months ago
Dear Dr Handsfield,
Thanks for all these answers. I will not keep worrying about this encounter and move on.

52 months ago
Dear Dr Handsfield,
Please answer my last question. As I was just married very recently, will this encounter put me and my wife in any kind of risk? Can I still have unprotected sex with my wife without worrying about anything? BTW, I did hear some news before in China that some HIV-positive people who also have psychological problem exposed HIV virus to public just to revenge  society.

Thanks and this is the last question.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
These are the same questions in different words. The answers are obvious from my previous replies.  No risk to you or your wife and you can safely continue unprotected sex with your wife.

"some HIV-positive people who also have psychological problem exposed HIV virus to public just to revenge society." If an infected person wanted such revenge, s/he would know to use a method that really would infect someone. Nobody would try to do it by leaving behind sexual fluids in an airplane bathroom. You are not thinking rationally.

You came to the forum for expert advice. You have it. The rest is up to you and this thread will be closed.

Truly, your worries have no justification in science or reality. Just forget this event and move on with your life.


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