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Having unprotected anal sex w/ a unknown partner.
Mar 11, 2003

I had sex with a stranger about three days ago. He penetrated me anally and we had anal sex w/out any kind of protection. When he was about to ejaculate he pulled his penis out of my anus and came on a towel.Since there was no semen in my anus, i figured it was ok to have anal sex.He claims that he is clean and doesn't have HIV or an STD. I believed him, but am wondering if what if he did have something. Am I at risk of getting AIDS or an STD??? Please answer as soon as possible, I'm going paranoid!!!!!!!!

Response from Mr. Kull

Any time you have unprotected anal sex with a person who has HIV or another sexually transmittable infection (STI), you are at risk for infection. Being the bottom (receptive partner) in unprotected anal sex is the most efficient way to transmit HIV and other STIs. While your risk for HIV infection is higher when a person cums (ejaculates) inside of your body, you can still get infections when you are only exposed to precum alone.

I am not sure what your sex is (both men AND women have anal sex!), but if you are a man who has sex with men, you are at greater risk for coming into contact with HIV when having unprotected sex with partners of unknown status. All people should try to use condoms when having penetrative sex with partners with confirmed or unknown HIV infection, but gay men, being at greater risk, need to exert greater caution (this is an unfortunate realty of HIV in the U.S.).

It's good that your partner told you that he was negative for HIV, but it's also important to recognize that people don't always know that they are infected. A person is also more likely to transmit HIV in the window period, when viral levels are high and a person's antibody test is likely to be falsely negative. And since people often don't know that they are infected with other STIs (many don't recognize symptoms or remain asymptomatic, yet infectious), it's hard to take somebody's word on their STI status.

My goal isn't to scare you. Everyone (at least everyone that I know) struggles with safer sex. Beating yourself up or stressing yourself out over this one encounter probably won't do you any good. It's important that you look at the reasons why it might be difficult for you to use condoms, recognize any patterns that might be going on (drug and alcohol use, emotional issues, coercion), and begin to approach the issue head on. I find that the best strategies involve talking with people who can understand the issues, be empathic, and know what it's like to struggle with sex and HIV. Most of all, be compassionate with yourself.

Do what you can to use condoms in the future and get tested in three months.

RMK



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