Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
Can I get AIDS from bodily fluids on a bus seat?
Daniel Perlman, MD, MBA on September 2, 2011
HIV causes AIDS, but not everyone who has HIV gets AIDS. Today’s HIV treatments are designed to slow down infections caused by HIV ⎼ including AIDS. So if you get tested early and often, even if you get HIV, you may never get AIDS. And many people with HIV live long, healthy lives thanks to the latest treatments.
It’s highly unlikely to get HIV from casual contact with bodily fluids. To get HIV, the infected fluids would need to get into your body through a cut, a sore, a mucosal surface (such as your eyes), an injection or sex.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a small number of people have tested positive for HIV as a result of contact with bodily fluids in a more casual day-to-day setting. Keep in mind that this is extremely rare and HIV cannot live for long outside the human body, or be transmitted through layers of clothing.
So while your risk of HIV from a bus seat is highly unlikely, the only way to know your HIV status for sure is to get tested. There are many STDs and many ways to get them ⎼ including unprotected oral sex and skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Getting tested for common STDs, in addition to HIV, can offer peace of mind by knowing your STD status for sure.
Learn more about STD risks factors, symptoms, complications, testing and treatment in our Expert Guide to STD Basics.
Thanks again for your question, and I wish you all the best.
Dr. Perlman is a Colorado-based infectious disease specialist (including HIV and other STDs) in private practice at Greater Denver Infectious Diseases. Additionally, he is Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Perlman was educated at theUniversity of Maryland School of Medicine, and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.