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HIV risk from vaginal blood outside the body?
Jan 26, 2008

Doctor Bob,

First let me say that the service you are providing here is wonderful! Just reading many of the other questions and answers has been helpful to me. Several of your answers have also made me literally laugh out loud! WOW! BTW, I stumbled upon the site doing a Google search for HIV statistics.

Anyway, here is my question. I tried to search the forums for a similar situation to minimise your incoming EMAIL load but couldn't find an exact match. Since you state 99% of questions are repeats, I thought perhaps mine was new and should be added to your list (or I just didn't search hard enough). Anyway, here goes:

Two nights ago I met a girl I had been chatting with online for some time. Although I had not planned on becoming intimate with her, one thing led to another as so often happens. Since I was not "prepared" for safer sex, I mentally made a note to only engage in "safer" activities manageable without a condom. We kissed some and I caressed and fondled her breasts and nipples. Eventually she got naked and wanting to satisfy her, but not wanting to penetrate her due to lack of a condom, I began to finger her, first with my pointer finger and then with both my pointer finger and middle finger. As she approached orgasm, she began to bleed slightly. When I noticed this, I immediately stopped and withdrew my fingers. I don't know if it was my "aggressive manipulation" or her starting her period that caused the bleeding. At this point, she took out my penis and sucked me almost to orgasm, although I finished outside her mouth, my semen splashing her face, breasts and stomach.

I do not know her HIV status and know that exposure to her vaginal fluids, blood and saliva all carries SOME risk. However, I am mostly concerned with the digital manipulation of her vagina and exposure to her blood as a risk. Two fingers were exposed for a short time and I did not have any known cuts, lesions or abrasions on my hand at the time. My question is, what kind of HIV exposure risk is there in these activities, but most specifically exposure to blood in her vagina? Also, how long is HIV able to live in human blood OUTSIDE the human body? Is there a chance I could have infected myself by handling my penis or rubbing my eye/nose etc. even though the amount of blood on my two fingers was so small that it dried almost instantly? Please let me know. Thanks!

P.S. Have you had a question like this? If so, sorry - I couldn't find it.

- JC

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey JC,

Thanks for your kind comments and yes, I have had many similar questions, although finding them in the extensive archives may be a bit of a challenge. The bottom line is that HIV (in blood, cervical secretions or any other infectious bodily fluid) cannot permeate intact skin. Consequently, your digital play without "cuts, lesions or abrasions" would not be considered a significant HIV risk. HIV itself does not survive very long at all outside the body. (I can't give you the exact number of minutes or seconds, because there are far too many variables viral load, viral strain, type of bodily fluid, ambient room temperature and humidity, quantity of fluid, etc.). Overall I would place your risk in a minimal-to-nonexistent range. If you are concerned, a single rapid HIV test at the three-month mark is all you need to put any residual worries permanently to rest. I'm confident the result would be negative.

Finally, I applaud your efforts to stay safe, even when "one thing led to another as so often happens." BRAVO! For future unanticipated events, it's probably a good idea to have your goody drawer in your bedroom nightstand well stocked with latex condoms, water-based slippery stuff, chocolate body frosting, feather boas and/or whatever gets you through the night!

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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