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IV risk of infection in a remote African hospital

Jan 31, 2011

Hi Dr. Bob: My wife has been in Tanzania/Kenya helping out a several children's homes (orphanages) over the last month. While there she contracted malaria (she was taking Malarone but got Malaria still). She had to be hospitalized in a remote part of Kenya in what is apparently a pretty gross clinic (no food, one toilet for the whole place). She was given an IV of what I assume was saline to rehydrate her. I actually don't know what it was. Not blood, though. I am pretty concerned about the conditions of the IV and of the clinic and not inclined to be having sex until she tests negative for HIV. Can you give me some guidance? Is sex with a condom safe under these condition? What about oral sex (giving and receiving). I am assuming a negative test after 12 weeks indicate that she is OK. Thanks. I am a big supporter of your work. Regards, Mark

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mark,

A three-month HIV-antibody test would provide a definitive result. Latex condoms can be used for penetrative sex during the three-month window period. Assuming the latex condoms are used properly and do not fail (break), your HIV risk would be essentially nonexistent.

Dr. Bob

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