Body Fluids, Body Contacts and Behaviours in Focus: A Post COVID Scenario for Evolving a Sustainable Health Behaviour Package

4 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020

See all articles by K Rajasekharan Nayar

K Rajasekharan Nayar

Global Institute of Public Health ; Santhigiri Research Foundation

Shabana Roze Chowdhury

Independent Public Health Analyst

Arathi P Rao

Prasanna School of Public Health

Date Written: April 23, 2020


The body fluids and their role in transmission of infections have been now well-known. The role of intimate contacts between males and females during sexual intercourse have been held responsible for transmitting HIV/AIDS. History reveals many diseases which have been acquired through genital contact. Syphilis, a bacterial disease, for instance, is transmitted through sexual contact (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) which stigmatised the afflicted people for centuries. . It is also believed that the great expeditions of the Europeans, or even Columbus, played a significant role in its spread to other continents. It is assumed that Treponema Pallidum evolved through various mutations over centuries from even BC era and achieved the virulence. Many other diseases like Tuberculosis, has affected artists and poets, sometimes attributed to their bohemian life. Some of the well-known personalities who got afflicted are, Alphonse Daudet, Thomas Chatterton, Keats, James Boswell, Dostoievski and Oscar Wild. Like syphilis, which achieved near epidemic status centuries back, the one disease due to exchange of body fluids and which became an epidemic in the near history is HIV/AIDS. It resulted in stigmatising African Americans who were most affected when the epidemic started and even today. It was largely due to homosexual contact among both African Americans and Hispanics. Heterosexual sexual contact was only secondary. These negative trends and further progress of the disease were somehow contained due to a well-organised campaign which included the use of condoms during sex. The importance of using condoms during sex was highlighted in order to prevent direct contacts and exchange of body fluids. Fortunately, timely medical research and epidemiological research helped in understanding many processes associated with disease transmission which helped in evolving suitable strategies including drugs to control many diseases. Human helplessness also was revealed in many cases especially HIV/AIDS when suitable cure was not found even with extensive research in various countries.

Access and assessment of data by scientists and public health scholars certainly play an important role in understanding and containing diseases. The body fluids, infected secretions or particles emitted by the infected person indeed are responsible for the infection. But these are often forgotten when someone catches common cold. They are treated normally and people do not even consider them infectious largely because of lack of its threat perception. Perception of threat, in the form of severity or fear of death, is indeed an important and a well-established dimension of human mind for taking appropriate action to ameliorate the problem. This applies to both communicable and non-communicable diseases but in case of communicable, as the severity increases, other factors set in. These are stigmatisation and fear of not only self but the other as well. The death perception in the case of COVID-19 could have played a major role in adherence to the age-old preventive strategies. The notion of ‘distance’ will be taken as a novel psychologically internalised phenomenon to not just prevent infection but to prevent death and all the factors associated with the disease. In the case of COVID-19, which is a droplet infection, this has become extremely important The pandemic has given rise to new forms of response to diseases, a form of human behaviour which the present generation has not witnessed in recent times. Evidently, it is certain that stigmatisation of those who cough and sneeze will now emerge as a new response by people. At least, it is possible that they will be snared upon. But one interesting fact is that the world has not grown beyond masks, isolation, distancing, enforcement and lock downs. Post-COVID, some of these will continue to be practised or they will remain within the psyche.

The possibilities of evolving a sustainable package for positive health behaviour post-COVID are immense. This package should include a mobile application with general information on communicable and non-communicable diseases and the causative factors. The positive and negative behavioural factors which lead to diseases and which transmit diseases could also be enlisted. It is important that our primary health care workers including ASHA workers should be technically empowered to handle such crises and influence the behavioural patterns. Such actions will help to minimise post-COVID shocks. Certainly, the world has moved ahead surviving many such pandemics. It will continue to do so!

Keywords: COVID, Body fluids, Behaviour

Suggested Citation

Nayar, K Rajasekharan and Chowdhury, Shabana Roze and P Rao, Arathi, Body Fluids, Body Contacts and Behaviours in Focus: A Post COVID Scenario for Evolving a Sustainable Health Behaviour Package (April 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

K Rajasekharan Nayar (Contact Author)

Global Institute of Public Health ( email )

Global Institute of Public Health
Trivandrum, IN Kerala 695024

Santhigiri Research Foundation ( email )

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695589

Shabana Roze Chowdhury

Independent Public Health Analyst ( email )

9830179974 (Phone)

Arathi P Rao

Prasanna School of Public Health ( email )

Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Manipal, IN Karnataka 576174

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