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Repeated Exposure to HIV
Jun 6, 2006

Hi Dr. Frascino. I would like for you to please confirm or disagree with the fact that HIV is usually transmitted through repeated exposure. After a possible exposure from receptive anal sex (the condom broke and I did not know my partner's status) I went to the doctor and insisted that I undergo the PEP treatment. He assured me that my risk was very minimal (he guessed 5%) but I still went through with it anyway, as those odds are still too high. Can you please confirm if he was providing me with the right information? He stresses that HIV is transmitted through repeated exposure from the same source or from multiple sources in a short period of time, although there are cases that HIV can be contracted after just one exposure. Can you please assess this and provide me with the odds of contracting HIV from one receptive anal sex exposure and an exposure from performing unprotected oral sex?

Thank you so much for your time. These forums are a real blessing and is the key to the prevention of the spread of this devastating disease. I wish more people would access this invaluable tool.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

First the facts. The estimated per-act risk for acquisition of HIV from unprotected (or broken condom) receptive anal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive is 50 per 10,000 exposures. Each time someone engages in this activity, the risk remains exactly the same. Consequently yes, it can happen with just one exposure and yes, if you have repeated exposures your overall chance of being infected will increase, just like buying more lottery tickets increases your overall chance of winning, but each lottery ticket in and of itself has the same statistical chance of being the winning ticket. Of course, since we are talking about HIV/AIDS, this is one lottery no one wants to win!

Hope that helps!

Dr. Bob



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