[Question #345] STD Risks from Dry Humping and Masturbation

35 months ago
I have been dating a woman that has genital HSV-2 and she also has had abnormal pap smears. We have not had vaginal, anal or oral sex as I still need to get my head around the risks of transmission. A few days ago we were dry humping. She had nylon workout pants on and I was wearing jeans and boxers. We did this for about 5 minutes and then I unzipped my jeans, pulled out my penis and dry masturbated my penis until I ejaculated, which took about 30 seconds. I noticed after I ejaculated that her vaginal secretions had soaked through her workout pants and the front of my jeans around the zipper was wet. 

I have two concerns:

1. Can her vaginal secretions that soaked into my jeans transfer an std to me, and 
2. When I took my penis out of my jeans, I may have rubbed it on her vaginal secretions on the front of my jeans. If so, can I be infected with an STD (e.g. herpes, hpv, etc) in this way. 

Would her pants have provided a sufficient barrier. If so, what in the fabric would provide such a barrier to transmission? Would the viral load on my pants be enough to infect me, if I rubbed my penis against her vaginal secretions? 

 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
34 months ago

Welcome to the Forum.  The activities that you describe are no risk events.  STIs cannot be transmitted through material, even when wet. The organisms actually stick to the fibers themselves.  Thus, irrespective of what STI we are considering, including HIV, there is no risk of infection through "dry humping" even when the clothes between the two participants become wet.  Similarly, there is no risk of infection through masturbation, even when those taking part get each others' genital secretions on one another in the process.  There is no risk for infection from the activities you describe and no risk for STI testing of any sort.

I hope my comments are helpful to you.  EWH

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34 months ago
Thank you Dr. Hook. 

Can I ask another question? So, in the future, if she and I were to engage in mutual masturbation, and she were to get her vaginal secretions onto my penis while it was being massaged, you would classify this as low risk or no risk for her to transmit her hsv-2 infection to me? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
34 months ago
I would classify the sort of mutual masturbation you describe as very low risk.  I have never seen someone who acquired genital herpes through mutual masturbation.  EWH
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34 months ago
Thank you. You're insight is very much appreciated. 
34 months ago
Dr Hook,

I have one more question. This woman that I am dating is now not sure what the typing was for her hsv infection. She said she took a blood test about 12 years ago, but she didn't  remember what kind she took, how long after her first noticeable symptoms she took it, and what type of hsv she was infected with. 

She said her first noticeable symptoms in 2003 were substantial vaginal discharge with no blisters or sores. This sounded to me like her initial, possibly a primary outbreak. Then she said she remembered only having two more outbreaks within a year after that, which only included vaginal itching with nor sores or lesions. Then nothing else since. She also mentioned the man she was dating at the time was always getting cold sores, which has me  thinking she may have a genital hsv1 infection based on all the information. 

I told her she needed to get a type specific igg test done. I have read in numerous places and including on the Herpeselect website that the igg type 1 test is about 91% accurate, but I have seen Terri Warren say on number threads that this test misses 1 out of 4 infections. That seems awfully high to me. Have I missed something? Has there been new scientific data to confirm this? This assertion seems to contradict the work done by Dr. Anna Wald at the University of Washington, which seemed to be a fairly sound study based on sample size and confidence intervals. Was there bias that impacted that study? Terri Warren's frequent statements also contradicts the test relative sensitivity with sera from culture positive patients, as well as, its performance or agreement with serum panel obtained from the CDC. 

Please advise. 

Thank you. 


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
34 months ago

A type=specific HSV blood test may be helpful.  For your partner but has no bearing on your situation since there was no risk of infection to you in the first place.

I also think you are mis-interpreting Terri's comments.  I spoke with her about the details and she verifies that her study (conducted with Dr. Wald) shows that while HSV-1 blood tests may MISS up to 25% of past infections (i.e. 25% of people who have been infected with HSV-1 may have negative commercial blood tests), when the test is positive, particularly when the numerical value of the test is over 3.0, the result accurately reflects the presence and type of infection in nearly all cases.  So, if your partner tests and is negative, you cannot be sure whether she was infected in the past or not, nor can you know what type of HSV she might have been infected with.  In contrast, if the test is positive, believe the result. 

We are now getting far from you initial question and this is my third response to your questions so as indicated in our guidelines, it is time for this thread to end.  There will be no more relies.  If you have more questions you will need to open a new question.

Take care.  EWH 

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