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can the HIV virus pass through the pores of a latex condom?
Mar 8, 2003

Hi, I heard that the HIV virus is so small that it can possibly pass through the pores of a latex condom.

Is this information true? Also, what are the chances of contracting HIV from performing vaginal sex on a woman that is HIV positive assuming ideal conditions (condom stays intact and no leakage from the sides)?

Thank You.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You heard what? Where are you getting this information? The Department of Irresponsible and Irreproducible Results?" No, HIV cannot pass through a latex condom. Why else would we wear them? Oh yeah, there are the glow-in-the-dark ones that make pretty nifty night lights, but really, my friend, I certainly hope you don't believe everything that you hear. Perhaps what you heard was that HIV can pass through certain types of "natural" condoms, like those made form sheep's intestines (Ramses). That is true. Those types of condoms are fine for preventing unwanted pregnancy, but do not protect against HIV.

So what's your risk, if we assume the "ideal conditions" you describe? Essentially nonexistent.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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