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Blindness/low vision and safe sex

Oct 14, 2008

Hi Dr Bob,

I have been reading your site with interest. I have learned a great deal about HIV, and I no longer fear it as much as I did. Sexual Health doctors here in Australia hold you in very high regard so I thought I would e-mail you a question.

I am legally blind. I am a young and single male who has sex with women. I enjoy sex as much as the next guy and always use condoms. My problem is knowing whether the condom remained in tact, because, frankly, I cannot see. I usually just ask the girl something like, "did it stay on"? and I feel the base then running my finger along it.

Doc, can you suggest something? How can a legally blind guy "test" on his own whether a condom broke or not?


Response from Dr. Frascino


First, I would make sure you are using condoms that fit snuggly and properly. Next, I would be very careful about putting the condom on properly and using plenty of lubricant. These measures will decrease the risk of condom failure.

Because of your vision impairment, I would be upfront with your sex partners and ask them to help assure the condom stays in place by checking it periodically during sex play. Your partner can also help you "undress" after sex and visually inspect the condom for you. After all, sex is a team sport, right? So enlist the help of your team. Chances are they will be more than happy to help ensure everything and everyone remains safe and sound.

Stay safe and you'll stay well.

Dr. Bob

Really Worried
Risk of transmission while on pep

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