Delayed condom use is associated with an increased risk of HIV transmission in both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Many studies have attributed delayed condom use during sex to be riskier than when a condom is put on before sexual intercourse. Studies have also shown that delaying condom use during intercourse carries an increased risk of transmission compared to unprotected sex in women and the same risk of transmission as unprotected sex in men who have sex with other men.
THE RISK OF DELAYED CONDOM USE
Condoms provide adequate protection against HIV when used correctly. However, many couples worldwide engage in risky sexual intercourse when they don't use condoms correctly. Improper usage of a condom can lead to a breach in the protective layer and cause the transmission of HIV.
In addition, many couples worldwide engage in the practice of delaying condom use during sexual intercourse. Delaying the use of condoms during sex increases the contact time between the genitals. This increased contact time between the genitals is a known risk factor for HIV transmission.
For HIV-negative women, the risk of HIV transmission with delayed condom use is lower than that associated with unprotected sex. However, the risk is still higher than properly using the condom before the start of sex, studies suggest. The risk of HIV transmission with delayed condom use is even higher for seronegative men who have sex with other men. One study attributes this risk to be as high as that associated with unprotected sex in homosexual men.
Moreover, delaying condom use during sex is also linked to increased transmission risk for other sexually transmitted diseases. These STDs include:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Herpes and other STDs
WHY DOES DELAYED CONDOM USE INCREASE THE RISK OF HIV?
HIV is transmitted during sexual intercourse. The virus is passed on to the other person through infected blood, semen, or other infected body fluids. Unprotected sexual intercourse, therefore, carries the highest risk of HIV transmission among all forms of sexual intercourse.
Delayed condom use is different from unprotected sex since the former includes using a condom, just a little later than what's recommended. Delayed condom use involves the use of a condom just before ejaculation. So technically, delayed condom use does provide more protection than unprotected sex.
However, delayed condom use can still transmit HIV to an HIV-negative person. This is because HIV can be transmitted through pre-ejaculatory fluid as well. Pre-ejaculatory fluid is the sticky liquid that appears before ejaculation. It carries HIV and causative agents of other sexually transmitted diseases as well.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF IF YOU ARE EXPOSED TO HIV DURING SEX?
Numerous prevention methods help protect against HIV if employed correctly before sex, including condoms. However, there are still options available if you are exposed to HIV during sex if you fail to take the preventive measures beforehand.
If you believe that you were exposed to HIV during sexual intercourse, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will evaluate your current health status and might start you on a post-exposure prophylactic regime, also known as the nPEP regime.
nPEP offers protection against HIV after exposure to HIV has occurred. However, nPEP has a time limit after which the efficacy of the regime is reduced significantly. If taken within 72 hours or three days of exposure, nPEP can help protect you against HIV with a high success rate. The efficacy of the regime drops with time after you’re exposed to HIV.