Sexually Transmitted Diseases/hiv


QUESTION: hi mark i just wanna ask if how long can hiv virus remain outside the body?Like in a speculum,for how long can hiv remain in that speculum after it has been used to a positive patient in examining its cervix?

ANSWER: Hello Nana,
HIV is not known to survive for long periods outside of the body. HIV is a blood borne virus, and is not likely to heavily infect vaginal secretions found in a routine pelvic exam.  If the metal speculum is properly cleaned and sterilized there is no reason to worry. Plastic specula should be discarded after use, as there are no approved effective sterilization techniques for these.

It is essentially impossible to be infected by HIV through such inanimate objects ("fomites").  Hepatitis B, gonorrhea, trichomonas, etc., may be easier to acquire through such devices.  

I am unaware of specific studies to see how viable HIV is when freshly deposited in clothing, on a wood surface, on ceramic or plastic or glass, in public toilet water, etc.  We can presume that it is fairly difficult to spread in this fashion, or a whole lot more people would be infected!!

Good luck!

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks mark fot the reply.i just want to ask another question.i live in a country where abortion is illegal.and i have known some cases that some abortionists in this country re uses the equipments used in manual vaccum aspiration even the cannula thats been using in aspirating the question is,was that possible to transmit the virus that way?lets say due to lack of proper  sterilization process like they just washed the equipments with plain water and let the equipments dry then used it again to the next patient?

Hello Again, Nana,
Strict infection control and prevention techniques are proven methods to prevent infection of many diseases to others who are uninfected.  If such measures are not correctly practiced, then there is extremely high risk for infection, if an infectious germ is present.  Of course, it is much more complicated than this, but the fact that some health care providers are performing certain procedures like abortion without effective sterilization of instruments is very alarming.

If inappropriately sterilized instruments are reused, than there is risk of infection of Hepatitis B, HIV, and possibly other infectious diseases!

Good luck!

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mark P. Behar


Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!


Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]