[Question #4632] Possible exposure. Question to Doctor Hook

26 months ago

Good morning,

 

I hope you are doing well doctor Hook.

 

First off let me say that I’m not really educated on HIV transmission so my question might seem a bit odd. I really want to know if I need PEP or to test.

 

 

I’m a gay man and I’m really concerned about having hiv.

Yesterday I was using the bathroom in my college, and as I was sitting down I noticed that the tip of my penis touched the toilet seat. Now I know that the guy before me probably did not masturbate and leave semen on the toilet seat, but my question is what if he did, because when he got out of the bathroom he was covering his hands in an odd manner, and i also noticed a small spot of liquid where my penis touched. I know I’m being paranoid and I will seek help for it very soon. But I’m asking this question to educate myself about hiv transmission.

 

I have been doing some research on the website to see if there is a case similar to mine and found that you said multiple times that the “virus becomes non infectious almost immediately upon exposure to air and room temperature.” So that relieves me so much because not only you say this but many other credible doctors. But I also noticed that you said, commenting on if there was semen left on a toothbrush, “even if semen somehow got in the bag or on your toothbrush, as long a the toothbrush have not been used in a few minutes, there would be no risk.” [Question #2186].  

Now I know (according to what I read here) there are multiple factors that influence hiv survival. But I’m wondering, why did you say at first that “almost immediately it dies” and then you said “as long as the toothbrush have not been used in a few minutes”

So is it minutes or a few seconds? And did you say a few minutes as a general case where the temperature is unknown?

 

The room temperature in my case was around 22c. And I used the bathroom immediately after the guy finished from using it (so maybe after 30 seconds after he masturbated). Now doctor am I in any risk? Did the virus die? Or do I need PEP. I’m really really scared doctor. Thank you so very much.

  1. So is 30 seconds sufficient to kill the virus? It was, presumably, a small spot of semen (because there was some kind of liquid)

  2. And did you say “a few minutes” because you don’t know the temperature, meaning, is it a different scenario than mine.

Thank you so much doctor! You are the best!!!


26 months ago
I hope this question will be answered by Doctor Hook, given that he wrote the "almost immediately" and so on. 
much appreciated. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
26 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  FYI, clients do not get to direct questions to one or the other of us.  We have confidence that, based on having worked together for more than 30 years without disagreement in our advice, that while our verbal styles may vary, the substance of our advice does not.  I happened to pick up your question today.

There are several elements of my response.  I suggest that you do not focus on single statements but instead, integrate my responses for their totality.  

1.  First, if you, including your penis, had direct contact with the genital secretions from an HIV-infected person there would be no risk for acquisition of infection.  To further demonstrate this, let me remind you that the CDC, the WHO and all experts agree that there is no risk for HIV acquisition from mutual masturbation in which partners get each others' genital secretions on one another.  No cases of HIV acquisition from such behavior have ever been scientifically proven.
2.  Second, HIV does loose both its viability and infectivity once it is out of the body.  This occurs quite rapidly - in seconds to minutes.  It looses its ability to cause infection before the virus is even dead.  Temperatures below body temperature and drying both accelerate the risk at which the virus dies.  
3.  There is no intended difference between almost immediately and in minutes.

Finally to get to the details of the event that you describe:
1.  I do not recommend PEP for you and would not be willing to prescribe PEP to you if you were to come to my clinic requesting it for the situation you describe above.  In fact I would suggest that it would be medically irresponsible to prescribe PEP to you for the event that you describe.  
2.  30 seconds is more than enough time for the virus to be non-infectious

I hope these responses are helpful to you.  EWH 
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26 months ago
Thanks doctor for the answer! I can't even begin to describe how grateful I'm for the information. 
two questions:
1. you said there would be no risk if my penis touched the semen; does that even include the tip of my penis? 
2. you said 30 seconds are more than enough, but you also said it might take minutes. did you say 30 seconds because the temperature is 22? because in my case it was around 22. 
3. Can i go into bathrooms without any fear that my penis will touch the toilet seat (if the temperature is around 22)? 
 
26 months ago
Doctor another question please. you said no risk if my penis touched the secretions. is it because there is no peneteration (meaning the secretions won't enter my urethra?) 
I reiterate, you are the best!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
26 months ago
I'm glad my comments were helpful.  Straight to your follow-up questions:

1. you said there would be no risk if my penis touched the semen; does that even include the tip of my penis? 
Correct, still no risk at all.

2. you said 30 seconds are more than enough, but you also said it might take minutes. did you say 30 seconds because the temperature is 22? because in my case it was around 22. 
Please re-read my responses. The amount of timing for such exposures is irrelevant.

3. Can i go into bathrooms without any fear that my penis will touch the toilet seat (if the temperature is around 22)?
Absolutely.  The only people who acquire STIs, including HIV in bathrooms are the ones who are having sex in the bathroom (joke).  

Finally, yes, penetration is a necessary element of transmission of STIs, including HIV.  EWH

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26 months ago
Thanks for the response. 
Last question, for future prevention only: You said 30 seconds is more than enough for the virus to become non infectious. is it because it was room temperature ? in other words, would the virus maybe take more than 30 seconds if it were in the body temperature? 
Main questio n: is 30 seconds, (in my case), sufficient for the virus to become non-infectious. 
thanks doctor Hook. I will definitely not have sex in the bathroom. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
26 months ago
Final responses as Forum Guidelines permit up to 3 responses to each question.  I think you are focused on the wrong thing.  While 30 seconds outside of the body would be plenty of time for the virus to become non-infectious on a toilet seat, and while  temperatures lower than body temperature would accelerate the effect, the FACT is that even if a persons were to directly ejaculate on you without penetration (not trying to be crude, this does happen in persons engaged in mutual masturbation) there is agreement that you would not be at risk for infection.  HIV is just not all that infectious.  

I hope this helps.  Please don't worry.  This thread will be closed shortly.  EWH
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