Friday, May 11, 2012

HIV Risk After Broken Condom

This article is in response to a question that we received last week.
Condom is known to provide protective barrier against STDs; however it does not guarantee 100 % in every situation. Many experts believe that condom acts as a barrier that prevent sharing of blood, semen or vaginal fluid, as a result it reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

Above statements are true for idea situation, but in cases like improper use or broken condoms cause a lot of stress and fear. Broken condom is one of the situations that puts you at risk of  HIV transmission. But, many people want to know " is it the same risk as if not using condom?". For this kind of question, there is no straight answer because the risk depends upon several factors such as duration of sexual act after broken condom, type of sexual activity, and HIV status of partner. The general principle is that longer the exposure higher the risk, so if your condom was broken and unrecognized immediately then the risk of HIV would be same as if you were not wearing a condom. There is nothing to panic because it is not mandatory to get HIV after single sexual exposure. As per the research data risk of HIV transmission after single exposure from unknown partner is very low. You will be surprised to know that the risk of HIV transmission from HIV positive partner with broken condom is 5 out of 10,000 per exposure. This data looks pretty attractive, but once you look into details it was calculated as per exposure, so having multiple exposure or multiple sexual partner would certainly increase the transmission risk.

Being said that; it is also very important to go for HIV testing at 6, 12, and 24 weeks after an exposure to make sure that you do not have HIV infection. Although condom is very protective, but make sure to pull out immediately and clean the area properly which may reduce HIV risk.

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