I am a man and recently (several days ago) have had sexual intercourse with a guy around my age.
I was the insertive partner in a safe sex with him, I am really confident that the condom did not break or leak. What worries me that during that I was touching my penis (basically the condom) all the time and after that I took off the condom with the right hand (I am pretty sure the condom did not touch my penis), I did put some water-based lube on my hand because it was very dry and shortly after that I ejaculated with the same hand I was touching the condom and used to take it off. After all of that we both took a shower. Also, during the night I can recall that we used to rub each other's penises, I believe without touching the glans.
The guy tested negative 9 months ago and claims that he always does it safe. I am really worried may I have been exposed to HIV during the intercourse I have described.

Thank you very much!
Hello and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline forum! I am happy to help you.

It seems you are concerned about your possible exposure to HIV through the events that occurred with your partner. I am going to break down the exposure into segments of the events that occurred to help explain them and their associated risks more clearly.

1. Protected anal sex is considered a low risk activity. This accounts for the condom breaking or tearing during sex that may expose someone to the virus. In this case, if fluid leaked from the condom, or if your partner's fluid entered your condom to touch your penis, this would be where the concern lies. This is because the virus would have direct access to the bloodstream via either his anus or the urethra in your penis. If the virus contacted his anus from you, this would be a concern for him if you are HIV positive. The same is to be said if your partner is HIV positive and his rectal fluid contacted your penis. However, condoms are one of the best ways to protect against all STIs, so I am very happy you used one!

2. Touching your penis with the condom on is not a concern for you. This is because of 2 reasons. Firstly, the HIV virus actually dies when it is exposed to air, so since your hand was touching your penis externally, the virus could not affect you. Secondly, in this scenario the virus *does not have direct access to the bloodstream.* The virus cannot enter through your hand in such a way that you would acquire it.

3. Ejaculating with the same hand you touched the condom with is also not a concern. This is because it follows the same air principle I mentioned above. The virus cannot survive when it is exposed to air, so non-insertive masturbation is considered to be a no risk activity. Please note that the lube in this situation is irrelevant to the transmission of HIV because the lube itself cannot carry the virus as it is not a specific human bodily fluid.

4. Showering with a partner is also not considered to be a risk because of the air principle, and the fact that there would be no fluid exchange within the body happening. For this reason HIV cannot be transmitted in this way.

5. Mutual non-insertive masturbation is also not considered to hold a risk because there is no fluid exchange, and any fluid that may have been on yours or his hands would not be carrying the virus because of its exposure to the air.

So, overall, from what you have described the only risk involved would be the penetrative sex because there was bodily fluid transfer within the body that may have entered the bloodstream. Please know that I am not trying to worry you, however. I am just trying to inform you of the facts and risks associated with certain activities.

In this case, it may be in your best interest to go and get an HIV test done (they can be very quick and easy) 3 months after your last possible exposure. Test results for HIV are considered conclusive after 3 months. This decision is up to you, however, if you feel like testing would help to reduce your stress about this issue. Remember, however, that one can only acquire HIV from someone who is HIV positive. This means that if your partner was negative to begin with, you are not at risk. It is your decision whether to trust that he is truly HIV negative as he told you. I encourage you to take this issue into your own hands, however, and not put the weight of the issue on your partner.

If you live in the Vancouver area, I can give you some testing sites you can visit (or you can always contact your local healthcare professional):

1. St. Paul's on 1081 Burrard Street (604-707-5600)

2. STOP Rapid Testing Outreach open 24hrs (604-883-1331)

3. Bute Street Clinic on 1170 Bute Street (604-707-2796)

If you have further questions or require a test site nearer to your location, feel free to post on this forum again or give us a call. We are glad to provide you with more information.

I hope I have answered your questions thoroughly and gave you a better understanding of the risks associated with each activity.



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