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US Military member unknowingly had sex with HIV+ female

Dec 16, 2011

I wanted to start of by saying thank you for you efforts in HIV education. This is by far the most extensive and educational website I found on this topic during two weeks of searching.

I recently found myself newly single and stationed in Asia. Ive been having a good time here but two events over the last month have left me full of anxiety.

1st event (1 month ago): I had a one night stand with a female. We started off by taking a shower. She gave me oral (no condom) and I came in her mouth. We then moved to the bedroom were I had vaginal and anal sex with her. Condom was used for both. After the sex I see blood on the condom and all over my pubic hair. It turns out she started her period that day and didn't realize it. I inspected the condom and it was on properly and no breakage. Also, checked for cuts/sores/breaks in skin under my pubic hair and didn't see anything. I carefully took condom off with paper towel and immediately took a shower. I was freaked out by the blood so I ask about her STD status. She tells me she had a test 1 week prior and is disease/infection free. I'm not sure of the validity of this statement. A couple days later I find out this girl moonlights as a part time "call girl". This really scared me but I did use a condom so I calm myself.

2nd event (2 weeks ago): I had another 1 night stand. I'm thinking its my lucky month but boy was I wrong. I was drinking so this is what I remember to the best of my recollection. We kissed. She seemed overly dry so we did some foreplay. I sucked on her nipples. Fingered her with my middle finger for 2-3 minutes. I masturbated for several minutes with same hand. She kissed & licked the top of my penis but did not insert in her mouth. I rubbed my penis on outside of her vagina but did not insert. I put condom on and we had vaginal intercourse. Afterwards, I immediately go to bathroom. Condom is on and it looks intact so all seems well. I take condom off but I'm not as careful as usual. I do not use tissue and handle with my bare hands. I usually also wash my hands in the sink before jumping in shower but I forget to do this time. I jump in shower and immediately begin washing with soap my uncircumcised penis with hands that I'm sure still have residue from the outside of the condom.

The next day the female from the previous night sends me a text telling me she is HIV+ and that I should get checked at the hospital. I freak out bad. I go to my local ER and explain the situation. I take a full STD tests. All tests came back negative. The Doctor gave me option to begin PEP because of alcohol involved, foreplay, and the withheld HIV+ status (confirmed) of my partner. I decide to take PEP and started 38 hours post exposure. I'm currently on day 15 of 28.

So finally to my questions:

1) Ive read through the archives and from everything Ive found my possible exposure to HIV infection is very low for both events. Do you agree with this self assessment?

2) Did handling the condom and washing immediately after increase my risk of infection? Ive read some contradictory information. Especially alarming was this article:

3) How effective is PEP taken at 38 hours post exposure? Lots of contradictory information out there. I'm reading a lot of information saying that PEP needs to be started immediately after exposure and that its not effective if started 48-72 hours post exposure. Is this true?

4) What are the recommend post exposure testing intervals? Again Ive read some contradictory information. Most common Ive seen is: 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months post exposure. But, some of the more recent recommendations are saying the 3 months test is good enough. This may not seem like a big deal but the additional waiting for a 6 month test can seem like a lifetime. It can cause serious anxiety for something that some experts say isn't required. Which is the correct recommendation?

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

Thank your for writing in, and thank you for doing your homework! To answer your questions:

1) You are correct. Since you used a condom (and it did not break) for all acts of penetrative sex, your risk was minimal.

2) I would not be concerned. Since this study was based in Africa, it is likely that condoms were being used more infrequently, if at all. This means that there was more vaginal fluids present on the study participants penises. The study also did not track whether or not soap was used. Soap would help kill the virus. The virus starts to die the moment it leaves the body.

3) PEP can be taken uo to 72 hours after exposure, but is most effective ASAP. It's efficacy rates drop with each passing hour.

4) A test at 90 days would be conclusive and most people will show up positive at 25 days.

I hope this information helps.

In health, Richard

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