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Protected Sex During Menstruation - higher risk?
Aug 28, 2006

Dr. Bob,

2 months ago while on vacation in South America I had protected sex with a "high risk" local female. At the end of intercourse, i noticed blood on the outside of my condom and a couple drops on my thigh. The girl claimed she had unknowingly started her period. Because blood has a high concentration of HIV virions, i would assume that the risk of transmission would be increased (assuming she was HIV+). I used a latex condom and it did not break or slip off to my knowledge (i.e. it was still intact and on my penis when we finished). I immediately removed the condom and washed my thigh and genital area with soap and water. A few questions...

1)Is there anything about the state of menstruation that compromises the efficacy of a condom?

1)From all the literature ive read about a small amount of blood on intact skin... risk of transmission is low (some sources saying "virtually nonexistent"). Do you concur?

I have heightened concerns for a few reasons:

1) my location in a developing country

2)she was "high risk" and menstruating

3)about 2 weeks after our this encounter i came down with a rapid onset of fever, malaise, aches, nausea and a spell of vomiting. It lasted about 16 hours and besides being tired and fatigued the next day, felt other wise fine.

I know HIV can't be diagnosed via symptoms, but as an experienced physician, do you feel the brevity of the illness, lack of sore throat, and lymphadenopathy make it SOUND more like a gastroenteritis than an acute HIV infection? Does the fact that i used a latex condom and it did break or slip off negate the fact that she was menstruating and/or potentially seropositive?

I apologize if you perceive the email as rambling. Im just rather concerned and all other posts regarding sex during menstruation lack your insight. A Donation will be forthcoming. Thanks for all you do.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Here are a few answers to your few questions . . . .

1. Nope.

2. Yep! Virtually nonexistant !

3. Your heightened concerns do not change the reality of basic facts. A latex condom was used properly and did not fail. Symptoms do not equal HIV disease.

I see no cause for concern. If you're worried, the option of getting a three-month HIV test is always open to you. However, I personally do not believe it's necessary.

Thanks for your donation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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