[Question #1536] HIV Transmission Risk

46 months ago
First, I would like to start this off by saying I am scheduled to see an actual doctor within the following week about my concerns regarding what I am about to ask. I am going to get tested, now that I know for sure I can afford it.
Second, I understand that perhaps this question, much like my other, may seem a little excessive, overdramatic and paranoid. I do mean to waste anyone's time. I am genuinely concerned, have terrible anxiety and am looking out for my health. It is just due to my anxiety and excessive research, I cannot wait till I get to the actual doctor to have my questions answered.
About a year and a half ago, I had a friend order me a vibrator from a fairly well respected website and ship it to my house. It was Jelly Rabbit Vibrator, made from well, what I assume is some sort of jelly-silicone like material.
I was a little skeptical of the packaging, and it kind of look opened, but I trusted the website and my friend.  I was also an idiot. And vibrator virgin. ( and still actual virgin) Who did not clean it before she used it. I waited about a day before I actually used it. It might have been two. 
My major concern now is, considering I did not clean it immediately ( though I do now, and religiously so) is what the risk me in regards to HIV, HSV and HPV transmission.
It is of my understanding that HIV, HSV and HPV all die fairly quickly once outside of the body, and even if used, it would be near impossible for me to contract the virus, as it would no longer be present in infectious amounts once exposed to air. However, is the jelly material more porous and more capable of holding the virus? Would it have been possible for me to contract in this situation?
I am asking because to be frank, I already have so many health problems, it would be near impossible for me to tell the difference between the symptoms for HIV and just my regular eczema, acne and general malaise/sickness. 
I could be dying from AIDS, and just be like 'oh look, I guess my chest acne is act
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago

Welcome to our Forum. I'll do my best to help. When it comes to STIs there are no silly questions and we believe strongly that we would prefer to provide accurate information and perspective to our clients rather than leave them vulnerable to the huge amount of misleading and incorrect information found on the internet... 

I would urge you not to worry about any risk of any sort of STI from having begun use of your vibrator before you washed it the first time.  As you quite correctly point out, ALL bacterial and viral STIs quickly become non-infectious on exposure to the environment.  I am completely confident that in the time it took for your vibrator to be shipped, purchased, and for you to start using it any STI pathogens, IF PRESENT, would have become non-infectious.  Further, I would add that I am confident that the manufacturers of your vibrators would take precautions to make sure that each vibrator that they manufacture is clean and safe for use when they leave the factory.  They are a business and it would not be at all good for business to have purchasers getting STIS from their products. 

Finally, I would also add that in terms of access to testing, if funds are a concern, most public health departments around the nation offer free or at least low cost testing for STIs including HIV. If money is a consideration, I am confident a call to your local health department (or Planned Parenthood) will provide information about where testing can be obtained and its costs. Further many (but not all Health Departments and Planned Parenthoods have evening hours to make testing in the "off hours" more convenient. 

I hope this information is helpful and reassuring.  EWH

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46 months ago
Thank you Dr. Hook. That was immediately reassuring and helpful. I am very grateful for your response. Just out of curiosity, I do have two tattoos. Does that put me at risk for STIs? I mean they were done at a reputable tattoo parlor with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, so I can't see any blood transfusion/contact with infected needles as likely, but I guess it is possible. I am asking, because, in regards to actual sex, I'm really not at risk there too much either. I have only given and received brief amounts of oral sex (like less than three minutes each) and participated in 'dry-rubbing' , a good amount of which is done with a condom. As stated before, I have had no actual, full on penetration, sex.  So I am confused, and concerned as to how I could receive an STI/what STIS I am at risk for. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago

Straight to your questions;

Professionally placed tattoos do not put you at risk for STIs. Tattoo parlors and tattoo artists are highly regulated and must take major precautions for re-use of needles which might transmit diseases.  Casual, non-licensed tattoos may place you at risk however since there could be transferred of infected blood if precautions are not taken.

Regarding your other questions, there is a small risk of acquiring gonorrhea of the throat from performing oral sex in the unlikely circumstance that you were performing oral sex on an infected partner.  Receipt of oral sex is very, very low risk and should not concern you with he possible exception of acquiring herpes if your partner has oral herpes.  similarly, there is a low but theoretical risk of getting herpes from naked rubbing if there is direct contact. HPV might be transmitted with dry rubbing as well if you have not been vaccinated against the infection.

From what you say, your overall risk for infection is rather low and if I were you, I would not be worried

EWH

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46 months ago
So I am not at risk for HIV with any of my actions? I guess my thought originally was if someone 'injected' the virus into the vibrator it could last longer, but I am sure I am incorrect there. Well thank you for help Dr. Hook, and also thank you for putting up with my paranoia. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago
You are not paranoid, there are many ways to be confused on this topic and it is important. That said, I can assure you that none of the activities that you describe have put you at risk for HIV.  Take care, stay safe.  EWH
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