Condom doesn't cover entire penis - aids virus risk?
October 29, 2013 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I always practice safe sex, but the condom doesn't cover my entire penis and some of it is in contact with the vagina. Does this seriously increase my risk of being infected with HIV? (I use XL size condoms, but they don't cover everything, and as I tend to go deep, some of my skin is touching the vagina; but the most important parts are covered)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unless you have an open wound on your penis where the condom doesn't cover up, you're not really at any more risk. HIV is spread by bodily fluids, not by skin contact, or even skin-to-fluid contact.

Wikipedia on transmission; prevention is a little further down.
posted by LionIndex at 8:14 AM on October 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am not a doctor; I am not your doctor; this is not trained medical advice.

The HIV virus is transmitted through body fluids. It's generally harder for a woman to transmit to a man, because the sex act does not involve her shooting a fluid into your body. The only way that you would be exposed to HIV under the conditions you describe would be if you had a cut on your penis, or the skin surrounding it, somewhere on the part that is uncovered.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on October 29, 2013


HIV isn't transmitted by skin contact; as long as you don't have cuts or sores on the uncovered areas you're at very low risk.
posted by ook at 8:16 AM on October 29, 2013


If you're worried about that little bit at the root that's got a variable presence based on your level of body squishy-ness, I wouldn't fret too much.

The primary things you want to do is avoid rubbing mucus membranes with bodily fluids that might contain an unwanted passenger, or with bits that have been accidentally permeated by cuts or sores. The very base of your penis isn't a strong risk anymore than your pubic area is at risk when those rub together, or you could get finger-AIDS from inserting those in her.

Now if your partner is HIV positive, you probably want to speak with a doctor, not the hivemind, about appropriate precautions, but regular skin is designed specifically to keep little viral buggers out.
posted by Phalene at 8:26 AM on October 29, 2013


HIV is spread by bodily fluids, not by skin contact, or even skin-to-fluid contact.

Mucus membranes are another source of HIV transmission, and the glans is a mucus membrane. Men can acquire HIV from PIV sex with an infected woman, so barriers are a good idea for both parties in this regard.

That said, you should contact with your doctor. I suspect that the skin at the base of the penis is not going to be a viable transmission point unless there are lesions, but I'm not an expert on HIV/AIDS.
posted by Tanizaki at 8:50 AM on October 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does this seriously increase my risk of being infected with HIV? (I use XL size condoms, but they don't cover everything, and as I tend to go deep, some of my skin is touching the vagina; but the most important parts are covered)

IANAD/IANYD however, the answer to your question above is, if your skin is intact, no, you are not at increased risk of infection. Period.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:30 AM on October 29, 2013


This doesn't perfectly address your question. But are you using XL size and not XXL? You can buy XXL from Durex that are almost 10 inches. (XXL on Condom Depot) Perhaps those will cover you and help with your protection concerns.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:30 AM on October 29, 2013


No, it does not increase your chances of HIV transmission.

Picture this: man and woman have intercourse. Penis is completely covered by condom. Yet skin of labia contacts skin surrounding base of penis. HIV risk from this contact: negligible to zero.

The skin on the lower shaft of the penis is no different from the skin around the base of your penis, in terms of disease transmission. Your risk has zero difference from the guy who's penis is completely covered by the condom.
posted by latkes at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2013


PS, everyone telling you to ask your doctor misunderstands what doctors know and don't know about the finer points of HIV transmission. Most doctors know only the basics about HIV, unless they specialize in a population heavily impacted by HIV, or have some additional training in this arena. Your doctor is not going to be much more informed about this issue than the majority of the people of metafilter. Doctor's aren't psychics or gods.

If you really want a definitive answer to this question, ask an epidemiologist who focuses specifically on HIV transmission. The SF Dept of Public Health probably has as much accurate information about HIV transmission as any agency on the planet, and by the way, they have said that even fallatio is extremely low risk. (See broader discussion here.)
posted by latkes at 11:41 AM on October 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


While I agree with what people above are saying about increased risk of HIV (it's probably negligible as long as your skin is intact) some STIs are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact (HSV, HPV) and your risk for contracting those might well be increased. There's not really a perfect prophylaxis for skin-to-skin STIs, but properly-used barrier devices are generally considered the best first line of defense and a condom that doesn't cover the whole penis isn't being used properly. It's also a lot more likely to slip off during sex and leave you and your partner unprotected.

I know you were asking specifically about HIV, but if you haven't considered those other factors then maybe you should. I'd look into ordering some longer condoms, if I were you. You might have to take to the internet to find one that fits.
posted by Scientist at 1:04 PM on October 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not an expert on HIV transmission: however I think a female condom might be worth a shot, if only to allay your concerns.
posted by bunderful at 4:34 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Catalogue and Track My Life!   |   Gubernatorial Race 2013 - Forgot to Update county... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.