Q: I had recently met with a guy a week ago just to have my first experience through an ad site. He’s a middle-aged married guy who also has no encounter yet with the same sex but occasionally had extramarital sex with women he personally knows (his most recent one was a month ago). According to him, he is DDF and always uses condoms with other women.
Before the meet-up, we agreed that we will use condoms while giving him oral sex. We mutually masturbated each other first using lubrication. Then, I put on the condom but it was on the wrong side at first. There might be some pre-cum at the tip when it was at the right side afterwards. I just did it for less than 5 minutes until he decided he isn’t comfortable with it. The complication with me is that I had a mouth ulcer during that time. It was probably 80% healed because there was minimal or no pain but still present.
Although I was thinking that the scenario was very safe, I’m still looking into certain details where I may get infected. I am worried about the presence of the mouth ulcer and possible pre-cum at the condom tip. Also, it might be possible that the lubricant in my hand which I used to put on the condom may have contained pre-cum as well and I’m not sure if it can be a source of transmission. I would like to know if the risk is significant. If it is, when is the earliest time I should go get tested?
Ask an Expert’s Health Educator has said:
A: Thanks for your question. If the man you had sex was HIV positive:
In terms of transmission from the possible fluids on your hand – there is no direct risk of HIV transmission here unless you had open bleeding cuts present on hands.
In regard to any transmission risk from oral sex – oral sex is really only ever considered a significant risk when it is unprotected, with ejaculation in the mouth AND when open cuts or ulcers are present. Considering you had an ulcer and there is a possibility that infected fluids were present on the outside of the condom (either as a result of you first putting it on the wrong way or from any fluid left on your hands), a risk of transmission does exist. Having said this, transmission via this route is very uncommon and if your ulcer was partially healed this would lessen the risk. All things considered, it would be a good idea to get tested, especially considering that other sexually transmissible infections (such as gonorrhoea and herpes) can be transmitted via oral sex, and are much more easily transmitted than HIV.
I would recommend testing for HIV at approximately 3 months after the date of the incident (it would be worth getting a full STI check at the same time though). Three months is the standard time needed for someone’s body to respond to HIV after being exposed. Waiting three months allows the standard HIV test to be most accurate. As a guide, everyone who is sexually active is recommended to test at least once a year anyway, and many men who have sex with other men are recommended to test approximately every 6 months. If you are experiencing any symptoms in your mouth or throat, I would recommend a general sexual health (STI) screening as soon as practicable.
In response to your use of the term ‘DDF’ (Drug and Disease Free): terms like DDF (which are really common on hook up sites) are negatively loaded: they ostracise and can unintentionally cause offence to those who are living with infections like HIV. The term is also misleading: worldwide, the great majority of HIV transmissions occur due to unprotected sex rather than drug use. Many people who use recreational drugs are not living with any STIs and vice-versa. As a strategy, DDF (aka serosorting) is often not reliable. In Australia for example, it’s estimated that a third of new HIV infections are transmitted by someone who is unaware that they have HIV. Nevertheless, if you wish to use the strategy and limit having sex with only those who are HIV negative and are willing to trust your sexual partner’s knowledge of their status there are more reliable questions to ask. As an alternative, consider asking their status directly and, if negative, when their last HIV test result was and whether or not they’ve had any unprotected sex since that test. The option many end up going for is simply to practise universal caution and practise safe sex with everyone.
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