HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Two episodes of sex with males of unknown status
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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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Two episodes of sex with males of unknown status

Hello Dr.,

First exposure:
In November, I had vaginal sex with a 23 year old caucasian man from Ontario, and the condom broke. I am not entirely sure how long we had sex unprotected..as a worst-case scenario, let's say it was 5-10 minutes of unprotected sex without ejaculation). We put on another condom which remained in tact through to ejaculation. However, the next day I found a piece of the first broken condom had remained in my body from the previous night...
He had just gotten out of a longterm relationship, and he claimed that he and his previous partner had had unprotected sex, given that they had both been tested for hiv and stds. He claims he was negative and asked when I had been tested. (I tested negative in September). He is not a drug user to my knowledge, and is heterosexual. .

Second Exposure:
About 4 weeks ago, I attempted to have protected vaginal sex with an ex-boyfriend (unknown status). He is a 27 year old caucasian, non-drug user, and heterosexual from Ottawa, Ontario. I know he has many, many partners, but I am inclined to believe that he generally practices safe sex. After less than 2 minutes, we stopped having sex, as he could not maintain a full erection and he said he needed a different condom. I am not sure if he ejaculated prematurely, or at all, as he had taken the condom off before I saw it, and now I am afraid that some semen may have entered my body. He assured me that "the condom was on, but it just didn't go all the way down his penis". Given his small size, perhaps only 2 inches may have been covered. I told him of my fears of pregnancy and HIV and he said that I was fine and he was sure that no fluid entered my body. BUT, perhaps he just said that to calm me down. So, all that to say, I am absolutely terrified that the sex was indeed unprotected.


I have paralyzing, sickening, fear that I have contracted HIV. Is this rational?
What are my risks? Is testing needed after 2 exposures? Thank you ever so much.


239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your confidence in the forum.

You are much more frightened than warranted.  From all the emphasis in health education classes and the media, it's easy to gain the impression that HIV is much more common than it is.  The fact is that the sorts of partners you describe are exceedingly unlikely to have HIV, and that almost nobody with HIV has sexual lifestyles like yours.

And even if it turned out one of your partners had HIV, the chance of infection from a single episode of unprotected sex (after the condom breakage) is around one in 1,000.  That means you'd have to have unprotected vaginal sex with infected men once daily for 3 years before infection might be likely.  And the second exposure was condom-protected, so no worries there.

From a strict risk standpoint, you don't even need HIV testing.  However, I do recommend you be tested.  The negative result will be much more reassuring than anything I can say.  Sufficient time has passed for 100% reliable test results.  So my advice is that you be tested.  This isn't "code" that implies I think there is a chance you are infected.  I definitely do not.

I would be happy to comment further if you would like to return with a comment to report the result of an HIV test.  In the meantime, try not to worry.  In the nearly 9 years of this forum, nobody has ever reliably reported catching HIV after an exposure they asked about -- and given your risks, you certainly aren't going to be the first.

I hope this has helped calm your nerves.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Dr.,

All of my tests came back negative! I will finally be able to get some much needed sleep.  I tested for HIV, and common Stds.
My last inquiry is whether or not I should go for a follow up HIV test in the next couple of months.

I tested 5 weeks and 2 days after my last exposure 'scare'. A p24 Antigen test was done, as well as HIV antibody test -both were negative.
Are these resultus 100% conclusive, or do I need further testing to be 100% sure?

Lastly, I sincerely want to thank you for your response. Reading your response allowed me to relax a little bit, but of course, the negative results were exactly what I needed to put my fears to rest.

Thanks again and best wishes!
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239123_tn?1267651214
Congratulations.  For sure you aren't infected and don't need further testing.  The common recommendation for final testing at 3 months is based on antibody testing only.  The combination of negative antibody and negative p24 antigen is considered definitive any time 4 weeks or more after the last exposure.

Thanks for the thanks.  I'm glad to have helped.  Best wishes and stay safe.
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