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How does gonorrhea affect HIV transmission?
Jul 22, 2002

A year ago I had unprotected sex (once) with a girl I met when out. I then contracted gonorrhea a few days later and got treated through a course of antibiotics which cured it. However my anxiety has blocked the incident from my mind until now when I realised that I had to take a HIV test to hopefully ease my fears. I have one booked. although intitially being optomistic about the results and seeing it more as a precautionary measure I have read in a few places that ghonorrea and other std's increase the chances of HIV transfusion which worries me. Is it a forgone conclusion that if the girl had HIV & ghonorrea that through contracting ghonorrea I would also have contracted HIV as well? how more likely is someone to catch the virus if there is an STD transmission involved? thanks very much for your help.

Response from Mr. Kull

Conventional wisdom dictates that having one sexually transmitted infection increases the odds that you might be infected with another. Some studies have shown that having a current STI or a history of STIs puts one at greater risk for HIV infection. Some STIs put one at greater risk because lesions or inflammation in the mucosal membranes of the genitals can facilitate HIV transmission. All of the mechanics behind this are not yet fully understood.

It is important that you get tested, just as a precaution. It's not clear in your case if you would have been at increased risk for infection because of the gonorrhea exposure, but HIV testing is indicated.

RMK



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