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It must be almost impossible!

Oct 29, 2003

Dear Dr. Bob,

First off all thanks for all the work you and your collegues put into this site.

I have studied yours and others statistics for catching HIV during one single encounter. This means if all your partners are HIV positive right? Then it is around 0,1-0,3 pr encounter as you state. If you use a condom correctly this will give you additional 99,99 (am I correct, as long as it doesn't break/slip off, or other failure using it) it will be almost impossible or as close to zero percent chance to catch the virus.

Even though 0,1-0,3 chance pr encounter (vaginal intercourse) means like 1 pr 300 intercourses where HIV neg and HIV+ will transfer the virus. This make me wonder why HIV is expanding in such tremendous ways as it is in Africa, Asia and Eastern-Europe? Either we must be sex loving crazy animals or then there must be other significant factors existent?

I have also read that heterosexual transmission is the fastest expanding ways of transmission. Do people really accept 1-400 chance to get this virus? I can accept that entering an airplane I have to sit there for 470 yrs and still I have 70 chance to survive the crash (which should happen after 470 yrs..just playing with figures here now), but one in 400 for catching the virus? NO, I WILL PLAY SAFE! ALWAYS!

So to all of you! Be careful, use condom!!! And don't mix to much alchol and sex, it might give you some poor odds!


Best regards


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Tony,

Your facts are correct, but your understanding of the statistic isn't quite right. A 0.1 to 3 percent per episode probability risk of transmission does not mean "1 per 300 intercourses." The risk is actually the same for each episode. For instance, it would be possible have 3 people get HIV infected in a row, each with only a single exposure.

Yes, condoms do lower potential risk dramatically. Unfortunately, condoms are not readily available in many developing nations where the epidemic is exploding out of control. Yes, HIV worldwide is primarily a heterosexual disease. And HIV can, of course, also spread by intravenous drug use and from infected mother to her unborn child. Poverty, lack of information, misinformation, politics, religion, and many other factors all converge to fan the flames of this pandemic.

So for now, Tony, stick to your motto: "Stay safe, use protection, and have fun." It's wise advice for all of us "sex loving crazy animals!"

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Please help a dire man
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