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A Question from a Toronto fan ...
Nov 18, 2004

Hey Dr. Bob,

Thanks again for all the great advice over the years. I have a question for you ... I think it's a good one or it could simply be my paranoia! I'll let you decide. First, a little background ...

I'm a 37 year old gay male that recently became single and hence a little slutty. I would say over the past 3 months, I've been with about 20 different guys (most anonymously) -- all the encounters were safe -- condoms were used for anal (I was the bottom) and I'm careful about the rules surrounding oral (e.g. no brushing prior to oral, no cuts or sores, avoid swallowing, etc.). I try to check the condom during and after anal to ensure that there is no breakage. I also go for HIV and STD testing twice a year. I feel fine with no fevers or flu-type symptoms to speak of. In other words, I always try to be as careful as possible because I value my life and do NOT want HIV or any other STD ... and so far things have been good!

Now to my questions:

1) Can someone still contract HIV even though a condom was used (and there was no breakage or slippage)?

2) Do you think it would be safer for men to pull out before cuming even when using a condom?

3) Considering my recent sexual activities, should I get tested prior to my 6 month check-up?

I know these might seem like stupid questions (and I'm likely being paranoid), but I'm really trying to educate and protect myself as best I can ... and still enjoy a good healthy sex life.

I value your opinion and a reassuring word from you would help to put my mind at ease. So, give it to me straight doc, what do you think?

Signed, Paranoid in T.O.

P.S. You have lots of fans up here in T.O. and yes, Woody's and The Barn are still going strong.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Paranoid in T.O.,

You want one gay dude to give another gay dude some "straight" advice? Hmmm, OK, here you go:

1. Latex condoms are impermeable to HIV, herpes simplex virus and hepatitis B virus. So if the latex condom was used properly and did not fail, HIV would not be able to sneak, squeeze, squirm or samba through the intact condom.

2. Firing one's torpedoes when not submerged would theoretically decrease risk, because if there was an accident or condom failure, there would be less exposure of potentially infected fluids on the mucosal membranes.

3. Frequency of testing is always up to the individual. Some guidelines recommend an every-six-month STD screen, including HIV testing, for sexually active folks at some degree of risk. If there is an accident, testing sooner would, of course, be recommended. (PEP may also be recommended depending on the severity of the potential exposure.)

Lastly, 20 different safe-sex encounters with 20 different guys within the past three months isn't "slutty." Many would call it damn lucky. You must be one hot little stud muffin!

I'm glad things are still hopping in Toronto. I hope to visit again sometime soon. I miss not only some of my favorite haunts in the village (Church Street between Alexander and Wellesley), but also the Toronto Symphony, National Ballet, and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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