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Limited Exposure

Aug 12, 2006

Hi Dr. Frascino, A week ago I know I exposed myself to the HIV virus during a sexual experience. I penetrated a sexual partner one time before asking about his HIV status. When he told me he was HIV+ we stopped having anal sex because we did not have condoms available but proceeded to other safer sexual behaviors like masturbation. My question is what level of risk for HIV infection did I take by not using a condom that one moment I penetrated this partner. I am a young gay man and most of the time do engage in safe sex practices. I can't believe I was this careless this one time.

Thanks for your opinion.

Response from Dr. Frascino


It's always a good idea to ask about HIV status before taking the plunge, so to speak. Of course, even if someone had a lie detector strapped to his Mr. Happy and swore their were HIV negative, I still wouldn't suggest diving in without suiting up first!

The estimated per-act risk for acquiring HIV from unprotected insertive anal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV is 6.5 per 10,000 exposures. Your estimated risk may be somewhat less because you only dipped your wick so briefly. However, I would still recommend an HIV test at the three-month mark.

Finally, I should also point out engaging in safe sex "most of the time" is still leaving you at significant risk "some of the time."

Dr. Bob

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