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What level of risk from heterosexual vaginal intercourse
Jul 11, 1996

How many cases have been reported of AIDS or HIV infection contracted in the U.S. by men from heterosexual vaginal intercourse with a non I.V. drug user, non hemopheliac. What are the probabilies that I would become infected if I do not use a condom during vaginal intercourse. I am non-drug using, white, male, living in Arizona suburb. I have no known s.t.d

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi, Thank you for your question.

From 1981 to December 1995 (the latest statistic currently available), of 434,719 adult cases of AIDS in men, 13,521 (or 3%) became infected through heterosexual contact. Keep in mind that these are AIDS cases. This statistic does not include people with HIV who do not yet have AIDS. Since the average period of time from infection to a diagnosis of AIDS averages 10 years, these statistics are actually cases that became infected an average of 10 years ago. Although AIDS statistics tell us how people became infected an average of 10 years ago, HIV statistics tell us how people are becoming infected today. However, HIV is not reportable in all states (including California, New York, and other large population states). We therefore do not have any accurate HIV statistics on the number of male heterosexual cases becoming infected today. But we can say that 10 years ago, only about 3% of infections in men were via heterosexual contact. In the states that do have HIV reporting, as time progresses, we are seeing an increase in the number of males becoming infected through heterosexual contact. As to your chances of becoming infected from having unprotected vaginal sex, there is no specific statistic that anyone could give you. This is because you can become infected after having sex just one time. Or you can have sex 100 times and not get infected. But the more times you have sex, the greater the risk. Also, the more sexual partners your partner has, the greater your risk of infection. There is no way anyone can give you a statistical risk for you personally, since risk can vary so much from person to person. But think of it this way:

The more people you have unprotected sex with, the greater your risk. The more people your sex partners have had sex with, the greater your risk. If you use alcohol, pot, or any other drug that affects your personal judgement, your risk increases substantially. This is because people tend to put themselves at greater risk while drunk or stoned (high). While you're drunk or high, you're less likely to use condoms or use them correctly, and more likely to have sex with a "high risk" individual, that normally you might not have sex with. If you don't use condoms, you're much more likely to get other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's), like chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and many others. Some of these STD's can lead to serious complications, some are incurable, and some are potentially deadly. You should consider using condoms, not only to protect yourself from HIV, but from these other STD's as well.

In summary, nobody can statistically determine your personal risk since it can vary so much from person to person. But if you have any doubts about the past sexual history of your partner, consider using condoms. The one time that you don't use a condom is the time that you can get one of these infections.

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



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