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Author Topic: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?  (Read 3085 times)

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Offline worriedbrit

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Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« on: March 06, 2007, 12:34:20 PM »
Hello all from across the pond.... wondered if anyone could help a worried Brit who has made the mistake of visiting too many websites for information and ended up focusing on the worst case scenarios!

This site appears to be extremely "level headed" and to all you friendly posters out there, I wonder if you could answer this....

How worried should I be about a condom breaking where I was the insertive anal partner (I am male and my partner was female) - I estimate that it was 2 or 3 minutes that I was unaware of the breakage and I am unaware of my partner's HIV status. She has had lots of partners (not a criticism) and I would hate to make presumptions based on the fact that she has had lots of partners.

My mind is telling me that the risk was extremely low (the other activities were oral sex and protected vaginal sex) but the bad voice that is the worrier in me and some other sites are shouting that this was a high risk situation.

I've been obsessing about this for a week now and the memories of what should have been a great evening are being spoilt!  Any thoughts you have (especially those that tell me not to worry!!) would be warmly appreciated,

Thanks for all your patience - you've been a lovely audience and I hope to hear from some of you soon.

All the best


Post Extras:         

Offline Ann

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 12:50:25 PM »
worried,

Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus and more so from a woman to a man. While your brief possible exposure is unlikely to result in hiv infection, you do need to test. The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days. A negative result at six weeks must be confirmed at the three month point.

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL STIs together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection. Sex with a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence. A correctly used condom rarely breaks, so make sure you read this information I've linked to so you can avoid breakages in future.

Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

I expect you to come out of this ok, but hiv is nothing to guess about and you do need to test.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 01:12:54 PM »
Ann

Thanks very much for your reply - it has confirmed the need for me to have a test but hopefully I will spend the coming weeks focusing on "difficult" and "unlikely".  I will also take the opportunity to have a full sexual check up.

Just to clarify, are you saying that it would be worth me testing at 6 weeks as an interim measure from a mind-easing (fingers crossed) perspective?  I acknowledge that I would have to test again at 13 weeks.

Also, thanks for the link on the lube front - if I'd read that before last week I probably wouldn't be asking these questions now!

Thanks again

H

Offline Ann

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2007, 01:24:42 PM »
H,

A test at six weeks should definitely put your mind at ease, because if it is negative (as I am expecting it to be) it would be VERY unlikely to change. Just so you know, I've yet to see a man end up infected following a condom break with a woman. Sure, it may be possible, but it is very unlikely.

The other STIs are another matter though - so please do get a full panel of tests. You can test for the others ten days  to a fortnight after the possible exposure, or sooner if you experience symptoms such as painful urination.

One of the biggest causes of broken condoms is the failure to make sure there is no air in the tip. If you grasp the tip between your finger and thumb while you roll it down with your other hand, you will eliminate this problem.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 02:02:03 PM »
Ann

Thanks for your comments - you're a diamond!

I've just come off the phone having made an appointment for a full panel of tests next Thursday (just over 2 weeks after the condom breaking issue) so thank you for that advice.

When I'm there I shall make an appointment for a 6 week test and then talk someone in to go with me to hold my hand as I'm inordinately petrified (strange how I can play rugby 4 days a week and be fearless and then put my marbles at risk by focusing on all the bad points I read!)

I wanted to thank you for all your advice - much as I would have loved you to say "don't worry son nothing to worry about" (which I wasn't expecting) you've phrased your words in such a way as to calm me down significantly which I would have bet money against an hour ago... I shall raise a glass to you tonight!

All the best

H

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2007, 08:23:00 AM »
Hi all

I've had some excellent advice from Ann which I shall act upon.... does anyone have any advice for getting throught the next 5 weeks without getting obsessed by the test.  I am focusing on Ann's views that the risk is low as much as I can but am worrying about the test more than is healthy!

Any advice gratefully received....

All the best

H

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2007, 08:36:21 AM »
First of all, I just want to chime in that I agree with Ann about your risk being a low one.

Of course your mind will not always listen to that and instead may feed your fears. If that happens, getting into the habit of good, deep and slow breathing in and out has a calming effect.

Then just let the next thought or feeling come, notice it if you do and the next and the next and before you know it you're on to something totally different than what was scaring you. But those scary ones may pop up suddenly. The trouble begins when you try pushing them away instead of just noticing them and letting them be and continuing to move along.

Lastly, stay productively busy in your life and the waiting time can pass more quickly than you may imagine at this moment.

At the end of the day I expect you will come out of this ok.

Cheers,   
Andy Velez

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 08:43:56 AM »
Andy

Many thanks for your advice - will give it my best shot.... and breathe!

Thanks again - I appreciate you taking time out to reply.

Cheers

H

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2007, 07:48:47 AM »
Hello again - hoping I wasn't going to be back here for quite some time!

Have just had my full panel done and have picked up an STI (NSU - non specific urethritis) - this has somewhat broken my sense of calm composure while waiting out the rest of the weeks before going for my HIV test as I was rather hoping that all was going to be clear which would have reassured me (logically or illogically I'm not sure!)

Anyway..... back to fretting while I try and get this into perspective - if anyone could help me get it into persepctive that would be nice!

All the best

H

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2007, 10:01:39 AM »
worried,

NSU isn't necessarily a sexually transmitted infection. Something as simple as getting some soap down inside your urethra can cause NSU. The word "urethritis" simply means inflammation of the urethra. 

This does not change the fact that your risk was exceedingly low and I fully expect you to test hiv negative.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedbrit

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2007, 11:17:25 AM »
Ann

Thanks for your reply - I do wish both you and Andy could provide some consultancy to the GUM clinic that I've been attending as your take on the situation is so much more calming a nd reassuring (and non-judgmental) than theirs was today; not even a suggestion from them that NSU could be anything other than an STI plus an instant recommendation that HIV testing is more than warranted as a result!  And so austere and disapproving as well!

Thanks again - I'm grateful to you both for the work that you do on here.

Cheers

H

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2007, 12:25:54 PM »
worried,

I would imagine that it's safe to say that part of their attitude comes from seeing so many people who put themselves repeatedly at risk. You would think they'd go a little easier on someone who tried to do the right thing and used a condom though. Just make sure you use them correctly in future so you don't have to suffer through bad attitudes again. Make sure you get the air out of the tip and make sure you use plenty of water based lube for anal.

NSUs are often as a result of sexual activity - but not always. In the case of anal sex, it could be you were simply infected by ordinary bacteria that inhabit the anal regions. Whatever it was, you've been treated now so stop worrying about it.

Try to remain productively busy while you wait for your conclusive result and remember, the odds of a negative result are in your favour.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2007, 03:20:41 PM »
Sorry guys - I've stayed away from here for the last week and a half and focused on keeping busy to a fairly successful degree (mind occasionally plays games on me but coping with that reasonably well).

I'm sorry to be a pain - I truly have followed your previous advice and have been focusing on the fact that the views on this forum are that my risk was a low one, but the closer I get to the testing date, the more nervous (read paranoid) I'm becoming.

I've got 2 and 1/2 weeks to the 6 week testing point and the only thing I can't currently get straight in my head is whether the fact that I have picked up an STI (I'm assuming the NSU was as a result of this night rather than shower gel) increases the HIV risk in any way.  I can't think of a logical reason why it should increase the risk but can't think of why it shouldn't either!

Thanks

H

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2007, 04:08:02 PM »
The rising level of your anxiety as the time to get tested is an experience you share with many others. For whatever comfort it is, it's not a surprise that has been happening.

It's more important for you to realize that you had a single incident in which you were unprotected only in part, that is after the condom broke. HIV is much more difficult to transmit from female to male. Taking all of the into consideration the odds are very significantly in your favor that you will test negative. And I say that even with this STI issue you are injecting into the conversation.

It's more head stuff and nothing that in my opinion plays any role of importance in terms of risk for you.

Get back to staying busy. Before long this is going to be over and I expect there to be a happy ending. No kidding.
Andy Velez

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2007, 11:53:17 AM »
Andy

Thank you for your reply - I am grateful for it and apologise for taking your time; just struggling with the irrational nature of a mind that is usually rational!

Right, back to being busy!

Cheers

H

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2007, 10:29:00 AM »
Ann

With huge apologies for being a pain, I was re-reading these posts and just wanted to clarify one of your earlier replies when you said that you were yet to see a man become infected following a condom break with a woman.  The clarification I was wondering about was whether this includes anal sex or just vaginal and whether this includes situations where an STI is present in the man?

I'm sorry to be a burden and hope that I'm not entering the realms of pestering the forum - I'm trying to keep busy as Andy has advised and in the main part succeeding - my mind's just a little bit on edge at the moment.

All the best

H

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2007, 05:28:17 AM »
worried,

I've yet to see the insertive partner in either anal or vaginal intercourse, where the condom broke, end up positive because of that incident. Doesn't mean it may not happen, but it's not likely.

I'm fully expecting you to test negative.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedbrit

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2007, 09:06:09 AM »
Ann

Thanks for the reply - as always, it is much appreciated.  Exactly mirrors what the guy at the GUM clinic said to me this morning (much friendlier this time and all is well on the NSU front now so thank you for that also).

I believe that I have got this all in perspective now in terms of risk and will probably test at the 13 weeks mark instead of 6 as I will have to go back anyway and save a bity of NHS resource, unless my worries get the better of me in which case I shall go earlier - unless you think I should go earlier anyway.

Thanks again to you and Andy - I am exceptionally grateful for your advice

All the best

H

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2007, 09:08:41 AM »
You're welcome. We're expecting to hear happy news from you.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: Condom Breakage - Level of Risk?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2007, 12:30:44 PM »
H,

Twelve weeks is sufficient in the UK and no, you don't need to go at six unless you really need to for peace of mind. Personally, in this instance I'm all for you saving that little bit of NHS resource. GUM clinics are fighting for funds these days, so any saving is a welcome one. Just make sure you confirm your negative status at the three month point.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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