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Is this possible
Jul 21, 2009

if i insert my penis for five seconds can i get the virus

Response from Dr. Sherer

Thank you for this simple question. If we were able to talk directly, I would ask you what you think the answer to this question is? Have you ever heard an HIV educator or counselor or doctor suggest that just a brief period of penetration is safe, if it's less than 5 seconds?

If you have followed the advice of doctors and prevention counselors and wrapped your penis in a condom, the risk of transmission would be very low, <2%, though not zero. For condoms to work properly, they have to be used properly, throughout the sex act (not just at climax), and without oil-based lubricants.

If, as seems more likely from your question, you had no condom on, then the answer is yes, you could acquire the virus in this brief period of time.

I urge you to go to a doctor or HIV testing center to be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI), and then, from this day forward, take the simple steps necessary to avoid this uncertainty and anxiety. Those steps are either to keep your penis in your pants, or to use a condom.

In this era, there are some additional steps that you can take to reduce transmission. If, for example, you are uncircumcised, you can reduce your risk of acquiring the virus by 60% by being circumcised. Even if you do so, you will still have to use a condom.

If you are found to have an STI, you can and should receive treatment, in which case you have lessened your chance of acquiring HIV.

You can also choose to reduce the number of sexual partners that you have, and to stay with a single individual whom you know to be HIV negative. While this is not a simple matter, many couples do achieve satisfactory intimacy and sex lives while reducing or eliminating their risk of HIV.

In the next two years, the results of many studies of "pre-exposure prophylaxis" (PREP) (8!) will be released. In PREP, you take a medication in order to prevent acquiring HIV. There is good reason to think that these studies will show a benefit from PREP. However, even if there is benefit, the clear recommendation of doctors and HIV prevention specialists will be that, even if PREP is used, safer sex practices be followed, i.e. condom use, reduction of sexual partners, STI diagnosis and treatment, and circumcision. Hopefully in future there will also be effective microbicides that will allow women to control HIV prevention by themselves without having to ask men to use condoms.

I urge you to find a doctor, get an HIV and STI test, and talk about all of these issues. 5 seconds of penetration is plenty of time to get HIV. How much time does is take to take the steps to protect yourself and your future partner(s)?


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