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Problems with peep shows
Nov 11, 1996

I read the response you gave to the "peep show" question and have one of my own. I also was drunk in a peep show and did the following: First, I inadvertantly touched some WET semen on the wall of the booth while steadying myself. I then proceeded to masterbate with that same hand on my unprotected penis. I remember reading somewhere that the virus dies when it is exposed to air and colder temperatures, but I am nonetheless worried that I might have been exposed. I don't believe there was a LOT of semen on my hand (I remember wiping it on my jacket prior to masterbating) but I'm still worried. Assuming that it is "extremely unlikely" that the person with the "fresh cut" was exposed, can I assume that I am safe too? thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. In order to become infected with HIV, the virus must get directly into your bloodstream through some type of FRESH cut or open sore. If it wasn't a FRESH cut, you would not be at any significant risk. Also, the virus can only survive outside the body for a few minutes. The longer the virus is outside the body, the weaker it gets, and the less the chance for transmission to occur. Once the body fluid (in this case, semen) were to dry, the virus would be dead. In your case, it's impossible to know how long the virus was outside the body, other than to say it probably wasn't that long since the semen was still wet. All anyone could say is if the wet semen had a direct access to your bloodstream, there would be some risk. But nobody can quantify your risk, other than to say it was a possibility if the virus was outside the body for only a few minutes, and it had an access to your bloodstream.

If you are concerned about this, you may think about being tested 6 months after the exposure for the most accurate test result.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS



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