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"iffy condom" $100 donation made
Oct 31, 2007

Thanks so much for your response (below). I just made my $100 contribution to your great cause. While I was hoping your response would make me feel crazy for asking/worrying like most of the others who have written you with fears after having protected sex with a condom, I appreciate your response but am now a little more worried! My main concern was not addressed, and that is as follows- does the extra 2-3 inches of "dangling condom" at the tip mean that my condom was not in tact? It was tight and secure, just way too long (and I'm about 7 inches), and I did the water test to make sure there were no tears, and there were not. I ask because for all the others who have written you saying they used a condom but were scared you assured them with the "no how no way" so long as the condom was in tact and used properly. Does what I describe indicate improper use and in turn increase my odds of transmission? Although I felt extreme guilt after this encounter I was assured by my doctor on the phone and encouraged through your postings that my risk was basically nonexistent, so once at week 1 after the enounter and once at week 2 after the enounter my wife and I had unprotected sex, pulled out both times..all I can think about is how terrible this would be if I infected her. It was only after my sketchy symptoms that I began to worry and further think about the encounter, in particular the "iffy condom."

thank you and I won't bother you again!!

iffy condom? donation Oct 29, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob,

Thank you first of all for all you have done here. I have done a great deal of searching through previous postings and have managed to find some relief however my fear in particular doesn't seem to have been addressed.

Yes, I am one of many married men who is feeling extreme guilt and anxiety over having had intercourse with an escort. Yes, it was protected, but I am extremely uncomfortable because I don't know with what kind of condom. I was drunk but vividly recall there being some issues with the condom. First she wouldn't use the latex Trojan I had, and due to the language barrier I couldn't understand her explanation as to why. The condom she put on me covered almost all of my 'shaft' but there was at least two inches dangling from the tip. After reading about lambskin and polyeurthane condoms online I have become scared because they apparently are not at protective and are of the loser-fit that I seemed to have experienced.

One thing I did do the next morning after the encounter was get the condom out of the trash and fill it up with water to see if there were any leaks/tears. There were not. So, my big question is whether the risk of the other type of condom that she might have given me is that they (they being other than latex) are more likely to break and in turn transmit HIV, or do that they do not protect as sufficiently as latex against HIV while in tact? Also, if it were not a latex condom, how obvious a difference would it have been? Is my 'water test' at all conclusive?

It has been 6 weeks since the encounter, and I tested negative at 4 1/2 weeks. I have most recently become very nervous (to say the least) because of various symptoms I have developed- night sweats weeks 3-4, stiff/soar neck at week 5, diarreah week 5-6, and my wife has had a dry cough every morning since this whole thing happened. I know symptoms can be misleading, but given that I have 2 months until my conclusive 3 month test that is seeming more and more like 10 years away and I am having a very hard time carrying on with my life. Anything you can offer would be so greatly appreciated, including the link for donations.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I'm glad you've been reading the archives and at least finding "some relief."

Regarding escorts and condoms, for the most part sex workers know much more about staying safe than horny drunken married guys on the down low. After all STDs are occupational hazards for sex workers. The most common reasons sex workers would refuse to use a condom provided by their trick is that either (1) they don't trust the guy or his condom (i.e. expired condom, lambskin rather than latex or polyurethane condom, damaged condom, etc.) or (2) they are allergic to latex. What you read about non-latex condoms was not completely accurate. It is true that lambskin condoms do not protect against HIV; however, they do prevent unwanted pregnancies. Polyurethane condoms, on the other hand, protect against both HIV and unwanted pregnancy, just like latex. In fact they are recommended for folks with latex allergy. The durability of polyurethane condoms is very similar to latex. The three materials latex, polyurethane and lambskin all feel quite different. All would pass the water test.

My advice to you is the same as it is to all the other "many married men who feel extreme guilt and anxiety" from doing the horizontal mattress mambo with the Naughty Lady of Shady Lane:

1. Level with your wife. It's not only the best way to confront your guilt and anxiety; it's also the right thing to do.

2. Use latex (or polyurethane) condoms with your wife until you get your definitive three-month test.

3. The odds you did not contract HIV from this sexcapade are astronomically in your favor.

4. Stop worrying about symptoms. They are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected.

5. Continue to read through the archives. You should find the information and testimonials there both enlightening and encouraging.

Finally, thank you for your desire to make a donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. Helping others in desperate need is an excellent way to keep our problems in their proper perspective (and to rack up some excellent cosmic karma!). The foundation's Web site is www.concertedeffort.org. In return I'm sending you my best good-luck/good-health karma that your definitive three-month test remains negative.

Good luck.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Sorry I missed your main concern in my previous comments. I'll address it now and hopefully put your fears to rest, OK?

Condoms come in many shapes and sizes. Since the condom was supplied by your escort, her supply may well be of the extra large variety perhaps to accommodate her Italian customers. At any rate, so long as the condom was "tight and secure" and passed the post-sex water test, you should have nothing to worry about. The extra few inches of Mr. Happy's wetsuit are not at all a problem and would not suggest the condom was not "intact." Not intact means it was ripped or torn. Surely if it were, it wouldn't have passed your water test. So assuming the condom was latex or polyurethane, your risk would be essentially nonexistent. Should you be worried? No how. No way! OK?

Thanks for your generous donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. Your one gift will touch many lives in a very meaningful way.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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