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Protected Sex with HIV+ Person
Jan 5, 2007

Dear Doctor:

I am (very very) concerned about something that recently happened to me. On November 28 I had protected receptive anal sex with a man who subsequently told me he was HIV positive. He came inside me (with the condom on). I went to the hospital immediately after to ask about PEP. The doctor did not give me the drugs because he thought I was at low risk of contracting HIV from the man. The man told me his viral loads were undetectable, however this did not comfort me. As far as I am aware, I have never been penetrated by an HIV+ person before this event. I checked he condom by filling it with water and squeezing it hard. It appeared to be completely intact. I took an Orasure test the next day and it was negative. Now that about a month has passed I am very scared to re-test. My questions are these. What are the chances (percentage?) of my contracting HIV from this encounter? Will an NAAT test confirm my status even though it has only been a month? What is your opinion about the fact that this man did not disclose his status before penetrating me. I am extremely scared even though I know my chances are low :(

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

A few quick points:

1. I absolutely agree with the hospital's recommendation. PEP was not warranted.

2. That you are "not aware" of having been penetrated by an HIVer before doesn't mean it hasn't happened! Twenty-five percent of the over one million HIV-positive Americans are completely unaware they even have the virus!

3. Protected sex is indeed "protected," assuming the latex condom was used properly and did not break. HIV cannot permeate intact latex. No way. No how!

4. For a definitive HIV-screening test result, you'll need to wait a full three months.

5. That your partner did not disclose his status must be balanced with the fact it takes two to tango and you are ultimately responsible for keeping yourself safe, which, I might add, you did by using a condom!

6. Don't be scared. Just stay safe(r) and you'll stay well, OK?

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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