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Doesn't Make Sense

Jul 27, 2010

Dr. Frascino,

I am just curious about the rate of exposure numbers. I know for oral sex it's extremely low and for vaginal sex it's 5 in 10,000 encounters (which translates to .05%). .05% is absolutely minuscule.

So my question is how is HIV spread so much when the risks are so low?

I may be ignorant here and I've checked out for some answers but it seems like no ones asked this question.

It's like dejavu being back on your site. I had a scare a couple years back and you put my fears to rest. I think it's about time for another donation.


Response from Dr. Frascino


Welcome back to the forum!

The CDC's estimated per-act statistical risks for acquisition of HIV via exposure route are population based statistical estimates meant to provide information about the relative risk of various sexual activities. You cannot apply these numbers to any one specific coupling, as there are many potential confounding variables involving the virus (viral load, viral strain), the host (immune integrity, concurrent infections, use of effective antiretrovirals, etc.) and the act (trauma induced, etc.).

I know these statistics are often quite confusing. The bottom line is that it's possible to become infected with just a single HIV exposure; however, many HIV exposures do not lead to HIV transmission/acquisition. Also, receptive sex is always riskier than insertive; and anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex, which in turn is riskier than oral sex.

Hope that helps. Remember to play safe to stay safe, OK?

Dr. Bob

85 cents, doc! I'm in shock... really
One more thing to confirm

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