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Fingering then masterbation
Nov 11, 1996

A couple of weeks ago, while with a prostitute, I did a very foolish thing. First, I fingered her vagina so that her vaginal secretions got on the tips of my fingers. I then wiped my fingers once on the bedsheet and then with that same hand, masterbated on my unprotected penis. I don't think very much vaginal secretions were on my fingertips as I wiped (most?) of it off when I rubbed them on the bedsheet but still my fingers came into contact with my unprotected penis for approximately a minute? My question to you is did I put myself at risk as a result of this incident and if so to what degree? Would this be a rioskier or a less risky act then actually having had vaginal sex (I recall reading on another of your answers that the probability of picking up HIV from a single act is about 10%) Is this something I should get tested on or am I just being paranoid?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

Based on what you told me, your risk of infection was small. Fingering is generally considered a low risk activity for HIV (the only exception is IF you had a FRESH cut or open sore on your finger). The chances that her vaginal secretions got into your blood in your particular circumstance was very small.

Having unprotected vaginal intercourse is much higher risk than fingering, or mutual masturbatation (what occured in your circumstance).

I doi want to clarify a point you mentioned in your question. You stated that, "I recall reading on another of your answers that the probability of picking up HIV from a single act is about 10% "I. The statistic that I gave is that one researcher estimated that in a single act of unprotected intercourse, the chances of HIV passing from male-to-female is 0.1 to 20%, and from female-to-male, 0.01 to 10% (Source: K.M. Stone, HIV, STD's, and other Barriers. In Barrier Contraceptives, Current Status and Future Prospects, 1994). THIS STATISTIC CANNOT BE APPLIED TO DETERMINE INDIVIDUAL RISK! This is because there are many many variables that can determine whether a person becomes infected or not! Nobody can statistically determine in real-life circumstances what the chances are of someone becoming infected in a given situation. What the statisitc does generally tell us is that it genrally is easier to transmit HIV from male-to-female, than from female-to-male. But notice that there is overlap in the ranges of risk estimated. These statistics can give us a GENERAL idea of level of risk, but individual risk can vary dramatically, and statistics such as these CANNOT be used to determine individual risk.

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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