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30 second vaginal sex: A risk?
Sep 12, 1996

Hello. About 1 1/2 yrs. ago, I foolishly had unprotected sex (vaginal) with a female sex worker. My penis was inside her vagina for no more than 30 seconds. I then ejaculated outside her. I saw no signs of blood or any skin tears. I have a few questions:

Since there were no visible skin tears, the only other way I could think of that the HIV virus could enter the body is through microscopic skin tears. I know this is possible inside the vagina. Is this possible on the penis as well, assuming the insertive strokes wete pretty gentle? Is it possible in this situation for the HIV virus to get into the tears in less than 30 seconds? I've also heard that the virus can get in through the penis mucous membrane. Does the fact that I ejaculated outside her make this a non-issue? Does the fact that ejaculating outside the vagina make the act less riskier? Thanks for any response.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions. I'll answer them one at a time.

"Since there were no visible skin tears, the only other way I could think of that the HIV virus could enter the body is through microscopic skin tears. I know this is possible inside the vagina. Is this possible on the penis as well, assuming the insertive strokes wete pretty gentle?"

During unprotected intercourse, there can be small microscopic cuts and tears on the head of the penis, and the virus can enter your body through these tiny tears. The head of the penis is a mucous membrane, and is especially prone to microscopic tears and abrasions during sexual intercourse. Generally speaking, the longer the sex, and the more friction that occurs, the greater the chance for these miccroscopic tears to occur, and the greater the chance for HIV to enter into your body. Also, if you were to have other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) where there are open lesions (like herpes, syphilis, genital warts, and others), HIV can enter your body by entering through these open lesions into your bloodstream.

"Is it possible in this situation for the HIV virus to get into the tears in less than 30 seconds?"

This is certainly a possibility, but the longer the sex goes on, the greater the opportunity for HIV to enter your bloodstream and infect you. So the longer the sex continues, the greater the risk of infection.

" I've also heard that the virus can get in through the penis mucous membrane. Does the fact that I ejaculated outside her make this a non-issue? Does the fact that ejaculating outside the vagina make the act less riskier?"

The head of the penis is a mucous membrane, and it is here that the microscopic cuts/abrasions can occur for HIV to enter your bloodstream. Whether you ejaculate or not will not affect your risk. Also, whether you ejaculate inside of her or not, will not affect your risk. What affects your risk are if her vaginal secretions or menstrual blood (containing HIV) get into one of the openings on your penis discussed above. That's what determines your risk.

Your risk would actually be greater for other STD's like syphilis, Hepatitis B, and other diseases. Since this occurred 1 1/2 years ago, if you get tested now for HIV and other STD's, you should receive an accurate test to see if you became infected or not. But this sex worker was a high risk individual, and you did have high risk sex with her (unprotected vaginal intercourse), so you would be considered at risk for HIV and other STD's. You should consider getting tested under the circumstances. But remember that you can have sex with an infected person and still not get the infection. But the longer you have unprotected sex, and the more times you have unprotected sex, the greater your chances of infection.

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



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