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Handling condom after sex
Dec 6, 1996

I've been reading some of your answers to questions concerning vaginal fluids and the drying of them and my question I guess kind of relates to these questions which I guess there is no definite answer, as is the case with alot of questions concerning HIV. After having sex with an escort last week, I slowly pulled out to remove the condom. It was still on most of the way and I began to roll it off but it was too loose to do so. So, instead I just took my left hand with my index and thumb and gently pulled it off and threw it away. The escort then said I could use another one for another act of sex. So I opened another one and rolled it on. I was intoxicated a bit so this time I was unable to have sex after trying for a couple of minutes. So again I pulled out and gently pulled off the condom. She then left and I immediately went into bathroom and washed myself with soap and water (hands and genital area) in case of germs. I noticed on my thumb that there was a slight opening of the skin where I bite my skin at back of my nail that was healing over. Not a skab, but small chunk where skin was missing and maybe a little raw. Don't know if outside of condom actually touched this area taking off condom, don't think so, but possibly since I was intoxiciated. What do you think chances are that virus on outside of the condom could have transferred into my blood stream on that thumb if I hit it when taking off condom? Also, condoms are only safer I know, but what are chances of virus getting in urethra when taking off the condom also? I did it gently and don't think it slid across end of penis that I could feel. Is there sufficient virus that could live on outside of the condom after pulling out of vagina that could be infectious enough to infect a person? I probaly only took 30 seconds or so after pulling out to remove the condom. I'll wait longer in future if I have one, before removing the condom again so maybe any virus that could be on it will dry and die. I get so paranoid after having sex with an escort about once a year, even though she tells me they have to be tested every two months in North Carolina to keep their job. Hope this is true. I mean I should be more afraid of unsafe sex I was having with a girl I met through work a few months ago than one encounter with an escort whom I had safer sex with. Any way, sorry if I kept going on and on with my concerns. Thanks for all your support and analysis. Have a great one!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

There is no simple way I can quantitate your risk. All anybody can say is that if her vaginal secretions or blood had a direct access to your bloodstream within minutes, then you would be at risk of infection. The more of her vaginal secretions that had a direct access to your bloodstream, the greater the risk would be. And the fresher, and deeper the cut, the greater the risk. If a scab was already present, this would not be considered an access to your bloodstream. Also, all anybody can say is that if you used the condom consistently and correctly, your risk of infection is greatly reduced, but not eliminated. The longer the virus is outside the body, the weaker it gets, and the less the chance of transmission. Your personal risk may have been a bit higher however. This is because, when a person is drunk (through alcohol) or high on drugs (pot, cocaine etc.), a person is less likely to use a condom, and less likely to use it correctly. If you were drunk, you may not have used the condom correctly.

As long as it's been more than 6 months after a possible exposure to the virus, the HIV antibody tests are more than 99% accurate. So, if you did indeed put yourself at risk, wait 6 months before getting tested, for the most accurate HIV test. Also consider getting tested for other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's). Other STD's like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Herpes, Genital Warts, and others, are more infectious than HIV, more common, and can also cause significant health problems.

You had mentioned that the escort had to be tested every 2 months to work in North Carolina. BEWARE! Considering the fact that prostitution is illegal in North Carolina (as well as everywhere else in the USA, except Nevada), it's questionable that such a rule would exist. Whether this is true or not, this is a high risk individual, so any unprotected sex (or improperly used condoms) would pose a significant risk. But realistically, sexually speaking, your only significant risk would be through unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, or giving her oral sex. You would also be at significant risk if you didn't use the condom correctly.

If you have any further questions please e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at 1-800-842-AIDS.



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