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Recently divorced and want to be sure
Jan 5, 2008

Hi Dr.Frascino,

I am recently divorced and I plan to be sexually active. This brought me to the website a few weeks ago and Ive been reading through your questions and answers. I love the way you make everyone feel at ease so I made an end of the year donation to your foundation last week. I didnt think I had a question but as I read the posts again I just wanted to be sure about something. Im looking forward to enjoying sex and I dont want to go crazy with paranoia. Because of the work I do I often get small cuts and scratches on my fingers and hands and sometimes I dont even know theyre there. The way I understand it this shouldnt be a problem with HIV as long as body fluids (vaginal fluids, semen or precum) dont accidentally come into contact with a fresh actively bleeding cut. The key thing is that the wound has to be fresh and the type that youd want to put a bandage on it pretty much right away. Something you got a couple of days ago thats beginning to heal doesnt pose a risk. Is that correct? Along these lines, I was wondering if theres ever been even one documented case of sexually transmitted HIV through any sexual activity (fondling, masturbating a partner, etc.) other than unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex. Im thinking that as long as you dont have unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex youre not doing anything that puts you at risk, end of story. Is that also correct?

All the best for the New Year!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The general guideline is to avoid getting infected bodily fluids on "non-intact" skin. Now exactly what constitutes non-intact skin can be a bit difficult to completely explain in this type of format. I would agree with your assessment regarding cuts and scratches. If they are healing over and not actively bleeding or open, they should not pose a significant HIV-acquisition risk. It becomes a bit more "iffy" when we consider skin conditions, like eczema, where the skin is very inflamed and could be scratched "raw." This could present an increased HIV-acquisition risk, despite the fact there are no actively bleeding areas. But turning back to your specific situation, I see no reason for anything other than common sense. Cover significant cuts with a Band-Aid and avoid potentially infected bodily fluids from coming into contact with open wounds.

As for your question about documented cases of HIV from fondling, masturbating or similar situations, no, specific cases have not been "documented." Of course exactly how one would document only getting to second based rather than scoring is a bit difficult to imagine without enlisting the sex police to monitor bedroom activity. I'm sure W would be in favor of all increased monitoring activities! In fact I'm sure he's monitoring my phone conversations and probably even this forum. But don't worry, I tend to throw in big words, like "masturbation" and "evolution," so I'm sure he can't comprehend most of what I'm talking about.

So, have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious New Year! OK?

Dr. Bob



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