HIV Prevention Community
52.8k Members
Avatar universal

Question about one-time exposure statistics

I've recently become very worried because of a one time exposure (which I posted in another question), but during my research I found some statistics and have a question for the doctors.

Why is the probability of "one time exposure" so low?  It seems like catching HIV would be so rare if that was the case.  Is there a cumulative effect (so if you have sex with someone infected many times, it "builds up") or is it simply a matter of rolling the dice enough times?

If its just a matter of probability, what actually causes one incident to cause an infection & one not to?  Does it depend on how much fluid was at play, other factors such as cuts/scraps, or is there something else at play that I do not understand?  Is it just a matter that it takes a certain amount of virus germs to take hold?  So on most cases maybe you'd only get a few germs in your body, which can be fought off but in some cases a lot of germs get in you at "take hold"?

I'd just really like to understand this more fully, to help eliminate some of my own worry about it and just because I'd like to understand it better.  Any thoughts from the doctors would be appreciated.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
you need to quit worrying. First you have to have an exposure to have a first time exposure. you didn't have an exposure so you will be negative. You are just worried because you went from your wife and jerked off two guys at one time and licked a little PP. o.k. You will be fine.
Avatar universal
I'm pretty sure I'm okay, based on advice here and what I know.  I'm really curious, just to satisfy my scientific side, why the tranmission rates are so low.  Just want to know, since I've been reading so much about it.  Can't find any info on the reason behind it, though.

All I know, is that I won't ever make such a mistake again.  Besides the embarassment & the risk, I'm just lucky I have an understanding wife.  Or I'd be embarrassed, at risk, and posting on e-harmony.

My advice to anyone out there is to not let yourself get caught up in such a situation.  A few too many beers, a lot of sexual activity taking place to get you turned on, and then the peer pressure to join in.  Once you do it, you can't take it back, so think twice.  For some reason, at the time, it seemed just like "fun" but I've lived a nightmare because of it just from the worry.
Avatar universal
many on here will agree completely! we have all been there. You can test if you want, but you don't need to. If everything you state is what actually happened. You will be o.k.
219662 tn?1223862160
There is no "build up" effect.  It is more or less like rolling the dice.  Many factors have to come together in order for successful HIV transmission to occur.
Avatar universal
Does it take a large amount of the virus to get into your system, or could a single germ infect you?

I'm fairly certain I'm fine, I'm just curious (and still a bit on the paranoid side).  I generally have very bad luck and if there is a one in a million chance, that would be my bad luck to have just the right factors involved.
219662 tn?1223862160
Theoretically it takes only one, but in real world it takes A LOT of virus to establish an infection.  I'm talking thousands.
Avatar universal
you say you are curious, but curiosity killed the cat. Regular, Teak, myself and others said you are at no risk from the incident. You are going to eventually find away in your head to be infected and then you'll worry yourself to death.
Avatar universal
listen to regular, it takes a lot of the virus.
Avatar universal
I'm a compulsive worrier, and definitely have already nearly worried myself to death (seriously).  The more I know, the more I can dismiss the freakishly small chance that I have something I guess.  All I've been doing for the past days is search for research and statistics.

But you are right, I should just forget about it and get tested in a few more weeks.  Just to end the worry.  No matter how hard I try, I'm having trouble just dismissing it.  You're advice is helping, though.  I do feel a little better.

Avatar universal
Ma men.. i hope your still alive.. because I'm same as you. Been worring my *** off. Eventhough the hooker I did it with told me 10 times already no she doesn't have it. I even talked to her on facebook... All them doctors told me I don't have it and nurses..

Ma men..after 4 years are you alright... Cause the way I see it.. Your like the future me =D

Well anyway the odds are on my side..so what the hell.. not worried. =D
Avatar universal
Just wanted to share...I had a one-time "significant exposure" to HIV in the early '90s. I hooked up with an ex who knew he was HIV positive but he didn't tell me. (And he wasn't just any ex; he had been my first when I was 14.) A year later, a month before my wedding, my ex's family called to tell me he had AIDS. I was so scared and even considered cancelling my wedding. I got tested and remained negative a year later. When I became pregnant a couple years after that I was tested again. My ex died that year. I however was still negative. And still worried!!
Another baby, another test, still worried but negative.
My last test was 10 years ago when I had my last child. It was negative. It's been 20 years since that one-time "significant exposure". And here I am googling information on whether or not it's possible for that result to turn positive years later. Decades later. Crazy. Well...Thanks for listening.
Have an Answer?
Top HIV Answerers
366749 tn?1544698865
Karachi, Pakistan
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
These tips can help HIV-positive women live a long, healthy life.
Despite the drop in new infections, black women are still at a high risk for HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
What are your HIV treatment options, and how do you choose the right one? Our panel of experts weighs in.
Learn the truth behind 14 common misconceptions about HIV.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.