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HIV through precum
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HIV through precum

Dear Doc,

I'm so worried, I think I'm starting to make myself physically ill. Two days ago, I fooled around with a guy (my first) and I'm worried that I put myself at risk of contracting HIV, or any other STD for that matter. Everything we did was safe: Kissing, mutual masturbation, and then I decided that I wanted to try bottoming. He put on a condom, and it honestly went in and out in a matter of 2 seconds, I couldn't take the pain. This doesn't sound bad but the thing I'm worried about it the transmission of the precum to the condom. When I was whacking him off, he had a considerable amount of precum but I also used lube with that. I can't really tell you how long we did that for, maybe 10-15 minutes. That's when I decided to try bottoming. He put the condom on, and I rubbed lube on his penis (with condom) but I fear that precum was probably still present on my hand with the lube. So, I fear that precum was on the outside of the condom from my hand. Then, when I got home, there was the slightest remnant of blood on my toliet paper. You could barely even see it, but it was there. I'm so worried. He didn't strike me as being infected, he had limited experience with guys and was way in the closet. But that means nothing. I am going crazy, and I don't think I can survive the 6 months it's going to take for anything to be 100% sure test wise. What are my chances of being infected? I don't know what to do.

Sincerely,
Craig
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You are overthinking the risks out of anxiety.  Don't get hung up on minor things like whether there might have been a little precum on the outside of a condom.  The fact is simply that condoms work virtually 100% of the time.  In general, it takes rather large amounts of virus exposure to catch HIV; "just one virus" doesn't do it.  Look at it this way: if your partner had HIV, and if you were bottom, and there was no condom, and he ejaculated inside you, the average risk you caught HIV was somewhere around 1 in 200.  How high can it be with the minor potential exposure you are worried about?

A little bleeding after a person's first episode of receptive anal sex doesn't sound at all surprising.  The anus and rectum did not evolve as sexual organs; over time, you will accommodate.  In any case, the appearance of slight bleeding doesn't mean you were at heightened risk of catching HIV.

You don't really need HIV testing at all after this event.  If having a negative test will help calm your fears, feel free -- but you certainly don't need to wait 6 months for reliable results.  A negative test at 6-8 weeks will prove with virtual certainty you didn't catch HIV.

A final bit of advice, as you start on your sexual career:  You are on the right track to safe sex by using condoms for anal sex.  But that's only part of the story.  You also need to get in the habit of "do ask, do tell":  Never have sex with another guy, even if safe sex is planned (condoms for anal sex, oral sex, hand jobs, etc), without first asking about and sharing your own HIV status.  Then avoid getting involved, or at least avoid anal sex, with men who are positive, don't know, or seem evasive about it.  Most people don't lie when asked directly.  In the long run, "do ask, do tell" probably is just as important as condoms for anal sex.  And just think how much less worried you would be now if you had been reassured by your partner that he doesn't have it.

Bottom lines (no pun intended):  Please educate yourself about HIV risks and prevention.  Get tested at 6-8 weeks if you'll sleep better with a negative test reuslt.  In the meantime, kick back and relax; almost certainly you weren't infected.

Best wishes.  Stay safe--  HHH, MD
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Avatar_m_tn
I failed to mention that I did make a point to ask him if he was clean, and he said he was, although I'm not sure if he was tested negative. I do feel like I am over thinking this quite a bit, but the one thing I don't completely understand is how my bleeding doesn't put me anymore at risk. I'm assuming that I must've torn or irritated something when I inserted his penis, and from what I thought to be true, HIV is contracted through open cuts, etc. So, why am I not at high risk? Also, how long does HIV live outside of the body, for example, in precum? I've been looking it up on numerous sites and they're all saying different things. Sorry, this is the last question I'm going to ask. Thanks very much.
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Avatar_m_tn
...not at a higher risk?**
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239123_tn?1267651214
Congratulations on asking about HIV status ahead of time.  Of course people can lie, but most do not when asked directly.  That your partner says he doesn't have HIV is strong evidence he isn't infected, although of course it falls short of proof.

Please heed my original advice to stop overthinking this.  How long HIV can survive in body fluids is irrelevant; the fact is that people don't catch HIV through the sorts of exposures you describe.  Most gay/bi men who catch HIV do so after months or years of repeatedly unsafe behavior, such as sex with anonmyous partners without condoms.  That's not to say any single exposure cannot do it; of course it is possible and it sometimes happens.  But it's unlikely.

HIV is much harder to transmit than you seem think.  That's why I recommended you spend some time to educate yourself about the real risks. If you do that online, please stick with professional sites (like CDC and state or local health departments, or academic institutions) or with professionally moderated forums, like this one.  
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
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