If you believe you have been exposed to HIV and want help to judge your risk, would like advice about HIV testing, or have questions about the effectiveness of condoms or risks associated with specific sexual practices, this is the site for you.
I've just this evening had what I believe to be a potential HIV exposure and amongst other things, would like to ask if you think PEP is advisable in my situation.
I am a hetro male, 34. I visited a female sex worker in London. If it has any baring, definitely not "high class" and originally from Spain. I went there with the intention of getting a handjob with a condom, which I considered perfectly safe. The sex worker placed the condom on me herself, then begun the handjob. After about 30 seconds of this, I noticed she had a bandaged finger in a splint on the hand she was using. I stopped things and asked what it was. She said she had broken and badly cut her finger earlier that day on a window pane. She immediately started using the other hand for a few seconds, I stopped that as well. I'm not proud, but I then finished myself off with the condom still on, no contact with her at all.
My immediate thoughts are she had fresh, bad cuts on the hand she used to both put on the condom and was massaging my penis with, and this would be a potential route for infection (if she was HIV positive). I managed a brief look at the bandaged finger and whilst I couldn't see any obvious blood on or around the plasters/splint, it's entirely possible there could have been some. I also considered I may have made things worse by rubbing any blood around when I finished myself off (again, really not proud).
My specific questions to the forum are:
• What was my likely risk, assuming fresh blood was present on her hand and assuming she was HIV positive?
• Should I go for Post Exposure Prophylaxis? I'd much rather suffer the bad symptoms and cost than discover I could have done something later but didn't.
Handjobs are no risk. Furthermore you were wearing a condom. Therefore even moreso no risk. For any doctor to give you PEP in this situation would be totally reckless and stupid. If I were you I wouldn't even bother seeing a doctor because nothing you did put you at any risk. If I were you I'd feel stupid going to a doctor for such a non issue.
Really appreciate the quick responses and encouraging words from all.
I do appreciate handjobs are no risk (the reason I opted for one really), it's the addition of the cut that's caused me to worry and the fact it was both so recent and (apparently) quite bad.
My basic and probably poor understanding of condoms is that, as long as the head is covered, hiv transmission is next to impossible, is that accurate? In that case, my concern is less about the brief handjob itself and I guess more about when she put the condom on to start with, and the possibility of blood coming into contact with the head then.
joggen (thanks for replying) - could you expand on that a little as it's really surprised me and the picture you paint would, in my mind, have meant almost certain transmission!
Appreciate all who are responding, apologies for the follow ups but considering PEP is rather time critical. For what it's worth, I'm feeling significantly better about the situation and the extreme reactions to PEP are making me think it's not wise and i'm over-reacting.
The virus is very fragile and the outer shell becomes damaged when exposed to air. The outer shell is required for latching onto susceptible cells. As a result, HIV transmission can only happen INSIDE the body under these instances:
1. Unprotected vaginal or anal sex
2. Sharing injection drug equipment
3. Mother to infant
I think I've read something about air causing the HIV virus to become unstable, but I was under the impression this didn't happen immediately. Dried blood I can completely understand as being no risk, but if it's fresh from a wound, does the air really destroy the outer shell straight away?
Yes. Look, the real issue is that you have anxiety because you had an encounter with a sex worker that you regret, and your brain is coming up with all kinds of far-fetched scenarios of you getting infected, because you read somewhere that sex workers are teeming with HIV and STDs. The facts of the matter are that the CSW in all probability did not have HIV, you were never exposed to blood, and there is no realistic possibility of being infected if you were. Find something more realistic to worry about- you are wasting your time and energy concerning yourself with a non-issue.
I agree with pretty much everything you wrote and I'm greatly encouraged by the detailed information you've provided.
You and the other posters on here have convinced me a situation I thought was extremely high risk is, in all likelyhood next to none.
I won't be going for PEP. I won't lie either, I'm (clearly) an anxious person so I will get a test at an appropriate time for peace of mind, but your words have made a genuine difference to me and my state of mind.
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