[Question #4095] Inanimate surface or exposition to air? What kills a STI?

32 months ago
Hi and good afternoon,

My question is a bit theoretical. I have read in various sources amongst them yours, that a STI, for example herpes, dies quickly and becomes non infectious when exposed to air. So my question is, what if herpes remains in a confined place, like for example a crumpled condom used by a herpes infected man? If another man (I know, a very stretched hypothesis) uses the same condom few moments later, would he be at risk of being infected by the herpes virus? Or is the fact that condom is an inanimate surface, which is another justification I heard for the death of viruses, is enough for herpes to be non infectious even though it is not exposed to air inside? 

So I would be really glad if someone could answer this confusion for me, and thank you in advance.

Enjoy the rest of your day,
AA
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
32 months ago
Welcome back to the Forum.  I am sorry that you continue to worry about this exposure and the unlikely possibility that you might have been exposed to an STI.  I have read your earlier interaction with Terri and agree with all that she said.  As Terri has already indicated, while sometimes STIs, including herpes and be detected or even cultured after exposure to the environment, they become non-infectious virtually immediately for a variety of reason.  Lower than body temperature, drying on exposure to the air and many other factors contribute to this.  This statement is based on practical experience with many, many potential exposures, none of which is ever known to have contributed to infection.  EWH
---
32 months ago
Thank you very much Doctor Hook.

Well I would have preferred if you used "highly unlikely" or "impossible" instead of just "unlikely possibility" :)

And going back to your answer, I am still having a doubt about the case I gave which is a used condom. Because what you mentioned as factors which are lower than body temperature and exposure to the air that would cause drying just do not automatically apply to the inside of a crumpled used condom kept confined, or am I wrong? So maybe you base your statement on the other factors that I do not know about? Thank you again for your answer.


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
32 months ago
You are playing word games.  Your question was theoretical and unwarranted as you are not at meaningful risk for HIV. 

As Terri has already told you, and here I'll be direct, the idea that a CSW used a used condom on you is paranoid, unrealistic thinking.  Further, many of the conditions which eliminate infectiousness would still be operative in a "crumpled" condom.  You are worrying unnecessarily.  EWH
---
32 months ago
Thank you doctor for your answer.

I wish you could sum up to me these conditions that eliminate infectiouness and explain why they would still be operative inside a used condom just to ease my mind. But I would understand if it is too complex and the context here is not appropriate for such a theoretical medical lesson.

Anyway I thank you and Ms Warren as well for your words which surely have reconforted me more.

Best,
AA
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
32 months ago
I'm glad they were helpful.  Please appreciate that there has never been a recorded case in which a condom was re-used in the way that you suggested, leading to infection.  EWH
---
32 months ago
I understand that you can just make the statement based on the fact this theoretical case was never recorded before. However I would have loved a scientifical rational explanation. You talked about many conditions that eliminate infectiouness, could you please give me some examples of these conditions? I aplogize if I seem over-insisting to you, and thank you again anyway.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
32 months ago
You are over insisting.  As I have told you already, exposure to the atmosphere (i.e. oxygen concentrations), humidity, and temperature all have profound effects on the infectivity of micro-organisms.  So does exposure to secretions, micronutrient concentrations, pH, and the mechanical dilutional process which occurs contemporaneous with each transfer.  After training for years, scientists spend their entire careers studying each of these variables. 

You need to move forward from what appear to be entirely irrational and unwarranted concerns about the totally improbable possibility that a condom was used for you repeatedly.  If you want more information, I suggest you invest a decade or two in training so that you can study it yourself.

With this, this thread is over and there will be no further responses to your comments or follow-up questions.  Further, repeat threads on this topic from you may be deleted with little or no comment without return of your posting fee.  EWH
---