HIV Transmission and Testing > Am I Infected?

Reused Condom: Risk From Prior Fluid

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Digglet:
Dear Admins,

I just wanted to say that I think this site is an amazing resource. Many of your responses to members' concerns are detailed explainations in regards to risk. Admittedly, I suffer from OCD (not just with HIV, but with almost everything else) and I was wondering if you could help answer this question so I can move on from this past episode. Talking with a lot of people and searching the internet, I understand that my risk was low, but I was wondering if you could give the final word. I already know that when it comes to reusing condoms, it is dangerous since the condoms can be break due to friction from prior use. But is it possible to contract HIV from mucous membrane contact with previous fluid if one were to unintentionally reuse a condom from someone else after 5 minutes has past? I was recently with a sw and when she put the condom on my penis for oral sex it was already slightly unrolled. I understand this could result from a number of factors, but is there any risk if there happened to be another patron's semen in the condom?

Again, I know most people don't reuse condoms, but I have heard horror stories in the past where this has unfortunately happened. The condom didn't break, so my main concern is whether or not I could be infected with HIV from any prior semen inside the condom she gave me (since this infected fluid though exposed to the environment could theoretically have touched my penis glans and urethra mucous membranes). I posted on different forums (including the unreliable wikianswers) and was told that my risk ranged from no risk to intermediate risk. I was hoping you admins could give me your take. Thank you very much!

Ann:
Dig,

It sounds to me like your OCD is working overtime. A used condom just won't roll back up without it being VERY noticable. There's no way you were given a used condom.

You didn't have a risk.

We do not deal with OCD issues in this forum - I suggest you see your therapist or find one if you don't already have one. This isn't an OCD issue.

Ann

Digglet:
Thanks Ann, but I guess my main question was how long could HIV in the semen of a used condom stay infectious/active regardless of whether it is thrown away or not.

Ann:
Dig,

Even if there was someone else's semen in the condom, it would not have put you at risk. Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus that is primarily transmitted INSIDE the human body. Once hiv finds itself outside the body, changes in temperature, pH levels and moisture content all QUICKLY damage the virus and render it unable to infect.

There is no way you could have become infected from this far-fetched scenario, even if it were true.

However, you could have been put at risk for some of the other sexually transmitted infections if the condom was previously used. If you're worried about the others, go see your doctor. This is an hiv website and you were not at risk for hiv.

Ann

Digglet:
I appreciate your quick and frank responses Ann. I just had one last question; how quickly does the virus start to degrade when it is outside of the host? Not an exact answer of course, but are we talking "immediatly,as soon as it gets outside the body" or "within a few seconds" or "within a few minutes" ?

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