May 9, 2001
dear doc,could you please tell me what is the risk of getting infected with STD if you used someones dildo? the "device" was not used for 1.5 week by anyone and was washed in water. what is the risk of getting infected is you use the dildo a few hour after someone else has used it?
Response from Mr. Kull
The same rules for HIV tranmsission apply. There is no evidence that people have been infected by using a dildo, but it is theoretically possible. If fresh, HIV infected fluids (semen, blood, vaginal secretions) are on the dildo itself, and then those fluids come into contact with your mucous membranes (by inserting the dildo into your vagina, anus, or mouth), then there is a possibility for transmission. The length of time the fluids are exposed to air will have a negative effect on the viability of the virus (i.e., HIV does not survive in the environment long). Laboratory studies show that viability of HIV decreases 90-99% within several hours. Concentrations of virus in laboratory studies are MUCH higher than they generally are in the natural environment, so HIV does not survive long when outside a host. So 1.5 weeks is more than enough time to elapse between use. See "survival of HIV in the Environment" (http://www.thebody.com/cdc/survival.html) for more information.
If you want to protect yourself when using a dildo, you can put a latex condom over the dildo or clean it with soap and hot water after someone else uses it. Some people even boil their dildos in water!
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