I was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with herpes – from an outbreak not blood test. This may have come from protected sex with an escort which I engaged in twice – once about seven months ago and once a little under 3 months ago. (Having read extensively since re herpes I realize I can’t be sure she was the source, but just on timing it seems likely.) The GU clinic that diagnosed my herpes are running the full range of STI tests which I recognize is a sensible and routine precaution, but the doctor’s comments that condom’s are only “80% effective” against HIV and 60% against gonorrhea scared the living daylights out of me!
Since then from endless googling I realize that this does not mean the chance of failure on any one occasion, and with regards to HIV I don’t have any realistic worries. But I am getting horribly anxious about other STIs, especially gonorrhea and chlamydia and this is leading to hyper-vigilance to every possible ‘odd’ feeling in my penis. I’ve got to wait another two weeks to take the test for these because I had just finished a course of antibiotics for a tooth abscess before I visited the clinic – and then it will be another two weeks to the results. Frankly I am worried about the effect on my health of all this anxiety. I absolutely realize you can’t diagnose me by e-mail or give me an exact percentage risk figure, but it may help the endless mental hamster-wheels if I could get a clearer understanding of how gonorrhea and chlamydia could be transmitted when a condom is used. Is the risk only if a condom breaks or comes off? Could there be tiny breaks in my skin at the base of the penis through which vaginal secretions could enter the bloodstream? I should say that the condom was used both times from well before any oral or vaginal sex, and I’m absolutely sure there were no mishaps. Also, the second time vaginal penetration was very brief and I didn’t insert my penis fully into her.
Thanks for any clarity you can give me.