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HIV Prevention
Feb 7, 2007

Why is it that the statistics state that condoms are only 80 - 90% effective against HIV transmission when facts state that latex is an impenetrable barrior against HIV? The two contradict one another. Please shed some light on the subject for me. I'm trying to weight out the facts so I can decide if I should pursue an intimate relationship with a young lady who I know to be HIV+. I don't want to gamble with my health.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The two facts do not contradict one another at all. HIV cannot penetrate intact latex. No way. No how. But note that this is under laboratory conditions. The efficacy of condoms "decreases," so to speak, in everyday use, because they may not always be used properly. For instance, someone may use a lambskin "natural" condom. These are effective in preventing pregnancy, but not HIV. Other times folks don't know how or exactly when to apply the condom or perhaps may damage the condom with their teeth or nails. These "human factors" account for the apparent discrepancy you point out. In addition rarely, a condom may fail (break) during use.

Should you pursue an intimate relationship with your HIV-positive young lady? Only you can answer that question. I suggest you read through the archives, paying particular attention to the section on magnetic couples. HIV transmission (sexual) and HIV prevention (sexual)

Finally, I should also point out that opposites attract!

Dr. Bob



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