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HIV Risk with Ultra-Thin Condom

Question: 

Hi,

I visited a massage parlor in Barcelona a few months ago. I ended up having sex with the masseuse. She provided the condom which was an ultra-thin one. It got me worried afterward since it was very thin and I could barely feel it. Is there any HIV risk with such thin condoms? What if it had already expired?

Thanks!

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the effectiveness of an ultra-thin condom in preventing HIV transmission. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be Low Risk (evidence of transmission occurs through these activities when certain conditions are met).

The scenario mentioned above could meet the three components of the Transmission Equation if the condom was not used properly and/or broke during intercourse. Compared to regular condoms, ultra-thin condoms are just as effective at preventing HIV transmission when used properly. Laboratory studies have shown that as long as the condom is made from latex, nitrile, polyurethane, or polyisoprene the risk of HIV transmission is very low (1). Please note than condoms made from other materials, such as lambskin, are not effective at preventing HIV transmission (1).

It is important to note that condoms are not 100% effective at preventing HIV transmission, and thus testing is recommended after engaging in such activities.

Recommendation: Refer to a health care provider for HIV testing outside of the window period.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie