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Is your 0.3 risk correct?

Oct 17, 2003

Hello Bob. Before I begin please know that im not doubting you in any way. Just after a bit of clarification. You often refer to the risk for insertive vaginal sex to be 0.3 (1 in 300) with a known HIV + partner.

I found this answer on your site which contradicts this:

Does the 0.3 statistic represent the risk per episode of vaginal sex, or is it the risk when the partner is known to be HIV +

Please can you confirm this. Just as a side issue is there any risk statistic that you are aware of for receiving oral?

As I said im not doubting you just after claification. Your knowledge and compasion is second to none and the service you provide is very much appreciated. Its so unfair that you have been infected especially while helping others. This only adds to the admiration that I have for you as you continue to dedicate your life to helping others. You are a remarkable human being. I wish you and Steve and long and healthy life together.

Steve (England)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Steve,

The statistic that you have seen me quote frequently is the probability of HIV transmission from one single HIV exposure. The risk for HIV transmission per episode of unprotected receptive vaginal exposure with an HIV-infected partner is 0.1 0.2 percent. I don't see any contradiction in the question you refer to except the questioner states 0.3 instead of 0.2, but that's certainly in the ballpark.

The questioner was concerned the risk was as high as 30 to 50 percent. Ryan's answer states the 0.3 percent "estimate is indeed the risk for transmission per episode of unprotected vaginal-penile sex." His next statement about random partners is trying to point out that the risk estimate would go down, because we don't know for certain if the random partner was positive or not. I also agree with him that even though the risk is a lot less than most folks think it is, it's still not worth the gamble!

Hope that clarifies things. As for it being unfair that the virus found me while I was helping others, well, I don't' look at it quite that way. I'm neither more innocent nor more guilty than anyone who has contracted this illness. It's equally unfair for all of us.

Thanks for your kind comments. Steve and I are planning on a long life together, and if the first decade is any indication of what's to come, we are 2 lucky, lucky guys! Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Bob the great (Yes, we can!!)

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