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HIV from vibrating dildo?
Mar 9, 2005

I recently bought a vibrating dildo from a sex store. Though it appeared to be new (and was presented as such) it was not in a shrink wrapped package. I took it home, and after about 3-4 hours from when I bought it, I washed it with warm water and soap and used it, not thinking of the health consequences. It was only later that it crossed my mind that I had put something in my rectum that might have been exposed to who knows what just that morning. Given that there was some time since I bought it, and that I washed it (albeit not very thoroughly) does it seem likely that there is any real risk here? If so should I engage in any kind of preventative action? (Exposure was a few days ago) Thank you very much.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

No, I don't feel you've placed yourself at any significant risk for HIV. Nor do I feel any kind of preventative action is warranted. I'll reprint a question about sex toys posted in the archives for your edification and reassurance.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Posted: Sep 21, 2004:Dr. Bob, Help set the record straight on Sex Toys

Dr. Bob,

I recently bought some anal sex toys (2 rubber plugs and 1 set of jelly beads) and got a little freaked out that maybe they had been used before (although I don't know nor do I have any proof they ever were used). The packaging was a little messed up and I thought I saw a hair on one of the plugs (perhaps it was one of mine from the initial handling). I did a pretty thorough visual exam of each toy and they didn't appear to have any fluids or wetness to them, However, to be safe, I did not use any of the toys for an initial 30 hours and during this 30 hour period I thoroughly washed each toy 4 separate times: twice with antibacterial soap (Triclosan) and twice with regular Irish Spring Bar Soap and let them air dry after each of the 4 washings. I also used fairly hot water (about 50 C to 60 C) for at least one of the rinses. I then used the toys but got freaked out when many of the sex toy sites said that rubber and jelly are porous and can't be sterlized. If the toys had been used before, and given my initial cleansing methods, did I just engage in a potentially "High", "Low", "Extremely Low", or "No Risk" event? Should I be tested for HIV?

J. J.

Dr. Bob's response:

Hello JJ,

Wow, if you are that rigorous about cleansing a brand new sex toy, I can only imagine what you must do to a brand new boyfriend before having nookie with him. Is it true you sent your last boyfriend through a carwash three times strapped butt naked to the hood of a Hummer before you let him give you a hummer? And the boyfriend before that was stuffed into an industrial-strength front-loading washer with an extra dose of chlorine (water temp. 60-75C and) and then tumbled dried before you let him stuff and tumble you in bed??? OK, enough about making "dirty" boys squeaky clean. Let's talk about sex toys. Sex toys would pose an HIV risk only if the person using the toy before you was HIV positive and got some of their blood, pre-cum, semen, post-cum, or vaginal secretions on the toy, and the toy was used almost immediately after the infected person used it, and the infected person's body fluids had direct access to your mucosal surfaces or bloodstream. As you can see, your story does not meet these criteria.

It's surprising that some folks are fearful of contracting HIV from sex toys purchased new from adult stores. Do you really think it's likely someone else would have previously used that exact item??? Even Nordstrom wouldn't accept butt plug returns! And remember, the toy would have had to be used immediately before you. In essence, there is no risk of contracting HIV from new toys just purchased from a store. OK?

Now, just to be complete, I'll mention that to prevent HIV transmission when toying around with sex toys, simply wash the toy with soap and water immediately after you use it (and before anyone else uses it). You can, of course, also wash the toy immediately before you play with it. I would definitely consider the four washing cycles lasting 30 hours that you had with your new jelly and rubber friends to be excessive foreplay.

So, was your risk "high, low, extremely low, or no???" Hopefully by now, you know it's no! No? Yes, it's no!

Should you be tested for HIV? No. No risk means no reason to test. By the way, just how much money do you spend on cleaning products in an average month at your house?

Stay well J.J.

Dr. Bob



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