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AIDS & Herpes Swimming Pool Safety

author image Denise Stern
Denise Stern is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for more than seven years. Stern regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites and has an associate and specialized business degree in health information management and technology.
AIDS & Herpes Swimming Pool Safety
A woman is in the swimming pool. Photo Credit Jon Feingersh/Blend Images/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, cautions swimmers regarding germs in swimming pools. According to studies performed by the CDC, an alarming 1 in 12 pools, including community pools, contains parasites that may affect health. Most illnesses resulting from contaminated pool water are caused by people swallowing water containing the most common source of germs, feces or urine.

Defining HIV and AIDS

You may wonder about safety when swimming in the same pool as someone infected with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, or human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV. AIDS is considered the final stage of HIV infection. AIDS results in a person's inability to fight off infections, cancer and is ultimately fatal. The actual cause of the HIV virus is still under study, but AIDS.gov states that it affects and attacks the body's T-cells and CD4 cells, responsible for providing a front-line defense against bacterial, fungal and viral infections. A person may be diagnosed with HIV and have no symptoms, but the condition often leads to the development of AIDS.

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What is Herpes?

Herpes is a virus that may cause a variety of bodily reactions and conditions. Herpes simplex is the most common, though there are dozens of viral infections caused by this form of the virus. Herpes are sexually transmitted diseases, also known as STDs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital herpes are commonly found in people with multiple sex partners. Herpes can be transmitted through sexual activity or transfer of infected fluids through open skin wounds.

Sources for AIDS or HIV Contamination

Blood transfer is a main source of contamination of HIV. However, blood that gets into pool water disperses and is most often killed by chlorine used to clean pool water. The CDC states that it has no records of anyone becoming infected by HIV as a result of blood found in swimming pool water. Therefore, pools that offer proper balances of chlorine to gallons of water produce a very slight risk of contamination of the HIV virus. In some locations, however, swimming pools may be closed for a short period of time after a known blood spill to calm public use fears.

Herpes and Swimming

It's extremely unlikely that you will be infected with the herpes virus just because you shared the same swimming pool or hot tub water with a person infected with a herpes virus strain, Herpes.org elaborates. In order for the herpes virus to travel from one person to another, the virus needs to enter the body through an open wound. The virus can't enter the body by absorption through unbroken skin. Chlorine and chemicals found in most pools, hot tubs and spas are enough to kill virus germs.

Swimming Pool Safety

If you have AIDS or herpes, you won't spread your condition to others merely through swimming in the same pool water, states the New York State Department of Health. However, avoid having sex in swimming pools or hot tubs as a matter of courtesy for others. Infectious diseases like AIDS and herpes viral infections require transfer of body fluids such as infected saliva, mucous or semen, regardless of location. Chlorinate pools adequately by correctly balancing chlorine and acid to amount of gallons in the pool and clean regularly.

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