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Heterosexual HIV exposure
Aug 17, 2004

Dr. Bob, Is it true that it's more difficult for a man to contract HIV from a woman than vice versa, and that a man usually needs repeated exposures before being infected?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The receptive partner is always at greater risk than the insertive partner. Male-to-female transmission is 1.9 times more likely than female-to-male. That's just common sense, right? If an HIV-positive guy spunks a load right into an HIV-negative love canal, the chances of infection would be greater than HIV-positive love-canal fluids finding their way into an HIV-negative thrusting one-eyed monster, right???

As for your next question about a man needing repeated exposures to get infected, that assumption is wrong. The probability of transmission is exactly the same per episode, assuming the risk behavior is the same. Think of it like sexual Russian Roulette. You spin the barrel, put the gun up to your head, and pull the trigger. Each time you "play," the risk of blowing your brains out is exactly the same. Is it a risk you're willing to take? I certainly hope not.

Dr. Bob



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