A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control



Answered Questions

In the years since SmartSexResource launched, we have developed a library of questions asked by you, and answered by our expert sexual health nurses.

Our answered questions library cover a broad range of sexual health topics and common questions we hear at our clinics.

STI Risks and Transmission (405)

Does condom work? Have you seen any case of HIV with an intact condom?

Hi, and thanks for your question

Condoms, when used properly, are a very effective barrier against HIV transmission. They are also excellent at preventing other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis as well as preventing pregnancy.

For maximum efficacy it’s important that condoms be used correctly. A new condom should be used every time you have intercourse, as well as with each new partner, and when switching from anal to oral or vaginal penetration. The condom should be put on before the penis/external genitals touch the partner’s genitals or anus.

I don’t have any data on whether there has ever been a case of HIV with an intact condom, but what I can say is that condoms are very effective at preventing HIV.

Have a look at our Condoms page for more information and tips. You might also find our Know Your Chances charts helpful when considering risk of various types of STIs including HIV.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

I am from Bangladesh.have some stupid mistakes in my life and I am paying heavily for this Episode. #1 october 29,2014 I had protected vaginal sex with a female csw.I also french kissed her.Later found the girl HIV +.After 5 weeks I experienced severe flue type illness.Swollen lymph nodes under jaw and neck,loose stool,hedeach,severe muscle and joint pain,rash on both arm. I have tested after 3 months with 3rd generation rapid test,after 5 months with 3rd generation elisa, after 6.5 months with 3rd generation rapid test.All are negative. 2# July 16 2017 I had protected oral and protected vaginal sex with a female csw.Dont know why? Vaginal part only lasted 10-15 seconds.The girl seemed a consistent condom user.No real symptom aftee 1-4 weeks. Episode 3 # October 17 2017 I had protected vaginal sex with a csw.She offered me to have sex without a condom for extra charge.But she assured me she gets tested every month. Now you are thinking whats the real problem.Actually Im experiencing the symptom of overt aids.Lose of appetite,Loosing weight,fatigue, dizziness ,swollen lymph nodes,loose stool,nail fungus,clubbing nail are making my life hell.I have been loosing weight before my 2nd exposure. I dont know what to do? I cry and pray to God.Ive ruined my life.In my country HIV stigma is very deep and like a death sentence.

Hi there, and thanks for writing in.

The window period (time between when a person comes in contact with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and when the STI will show up on a test) for HIV is 3 months. If you have had a negative HIV antibody test 3 months or more after the encounter, this means that you do not have HIV.

Actually I can see that you have written to us previously with this same question. It is very difficult to live in a place where there is still a lot of stigma around HIV. It is also difficult to function in everyday life when we feel this much anxiety. It seems from your question and from the number of times that you have posted that question, that you are feeling a lot of anxiety about the possibility of an HIV infection. The fact is, you’ve had a negative test result more than 3 months after the encounter. This means that you are HIV negative.

The symptoms that we sometimes see associated with HIV seroconversion are what we call non-specific symptoms. This means that while swollen lymph nodes can be present with an HIV infection, for example, they can also be present with a multitude of other harmless things, such as a common cold.

Interestingly enough, all the symptoms that you’ve described to me can also be attributed to high levels of continued stress and anxiety. When we are feeling particularly anxious we don’t sleep. And when we don’t sleep, we get sick. When we are worried, maybe we don’t eat a normal healthy diet. And when we don’t eat, we lose weight.

In sexual health, we often meet people who are experiencing anxiety about an infection, but when we talk about it further, we discover that the actual feelings are around a new or different sexual encounter that the person feels unsure or ashamed about. I cannot determine exactly where your anxiety is coming from, but perhaps this is true for yourself.

At this point, I would strongly recommend that you see a professional counsellor or a healthcare professional about the level of anxiety you are feeling. Sometimes talking through these things in person can be helpful and counsellors have a lot of different tips and tricks to help people work through their anxious thoughts. In any case, further testing for HIV will likely not be helpful at this time, and will indeed most likely be more harmful to your mental health.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

Hi, while having a relation an escort spit on the top of my penis and rubbed it as lubricant, an i at risk ? Thank you. Worried man.

Hi, and thanks for your question

I’m going to assume that what you’re worried about is the risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from the encounter you’ve described.

Generally speaking, we don’t see STIs passed this way. HIV and different types of Hepatitis are passed through blood and body fluids like semen and vaginal fluid. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are passed through semen, vaginal, and anal fluids. Syphilis can also be passed through direct contact with a lesion (syphilis sore).

There aren’t any STIs that are carried in saliva. The only thing that could potentially pass this way would be Herpes Simplex Virus, but it would be extremely unlikely in this case. Herpes is passed by skin to skin contact. If the person you had sex with had a very fresh, open sore in his or her mouth and then spit directly on your skin it is possible there could have been virus contained in the saliva which was passed to you. But again, this would really be more of a theoretical risk than a practical one.

If you are still concerned, the best thing would be to see a healthcare provider and get tested for STIs. In fact, we recommend this routinely for any sexually active adult, whether they have symptoms or are worried about a particular encounter or not.
Have a look at our STIs at a Glance chart as well, as it gives a good snapshot of how STIs are passed.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns. Health Nurse

Morning i had protected sex with a lady whom i just met, protected penetration and protected oral but at the end when i removed the condom she gave me a handjob and she used her saliva on my penis the saliva was white but couldnt see if there is any red in it so im scared to catch HIV , although my friend is studying microbiology and immunology and confirmed to me that no way hiv can be transmitted that way because even if there is blood in the saliva it wont be concentrated and the saliva has an enzyme that destroys the virus plus in open air the virus is weak, but i preferred to check with your professional nurses to loosen up. Any suggestion ? Thank you

Hi, and thanks for your question

Well, the short answer is that your friend is absolutely right! HIV is not transmitted this way. It is not present in saliva, which is why we don’t see HIV passed through things like kissing. In addition, the virus does not survive outside the body for more than a second or two. So even if there was blood in her saliva, there isn’t really a risk for it to have entered your body in the encounter which you had described. Finally, we don’t even know if this person had HIV or not herself! If your sexual partner is HIV negative, then there is no risk to yourself of getting HIV from that person. 

In terms of this encounter, I would not be concerned. However, in general we always do recommend regular testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) between every 6-12 months for all sexually active individuals. A routine test would include screening for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. These infections often do not have any symptoms at all, so it’s good to just get checked out once in a while.

Have a look at our Clinic Finder to help locate a clinic in your area.

You also might want to check out our STIs at a Glance and Know Your Chances charts for a basic overview of different STIs and how they are passed.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

How long will I have genital warts (HPV)?

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

There are over 100 types of HPV. About 40 of them can affect the anus/rectum, genitals and less commonly, the mouth and throat. HPV is sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. This includes sexual contact such as, genitals rubbing together, penetrative sex (vaginal/internal genital or anal/rectal intercourse), oral sex, sharing sex toys, and hands on genitals. HPV may still be present even if there are no visible warts or when the warts are gone. Wearing condoms can help to reduce, but not eliminate the chances of passing HPV from one partner to another.

For the majority of people, the virus will clear the body on its own without causing symptoms/warts or problems. 

For those who do get symptoms (genital warts), most of these will eventually go away with or without having them treated, often within 18-24 months. Once your genital warts are gone, this does not mean the HPV infection is gone or cured. Genital warts can come back and you can get HPV again from a partner who has it.

There are now vaccines that protect against the more common HPV types. The vaccine will not help you get rid of HPV if you already have it, but it can prevent future infections. To learn more about the HPV and other vaccines, click here.


Dear Sir,I am here to write you an e-mail because I have some concerned about HIV . I am again in relationship with Egyptian Girl Friend. We kissed each other that was lips to lip wet kissing. I did not taste any blood nor I did not see any blood. Tongue was not involved during Kiss. I asked her that do you have any gum disease. She told me that some time when she brushed her teeth, sometime blood comes, but not often or every day. In the light of above is there any chances that I could get HIV.Iwas having at that time burning sensation inside my lower lips but I am sure it was not bleeding.We did not even chew lips during the kissing.Yes I sucked her nipples as well but I know sucking the nipples is not a risk.Kindly if you can reply as always you helped me. Awaiting your valuable reply in Return.Best Regards,

Based on what you’ve shared with me, there is no risks for HIV transmission. Below I have highlighted means of HIV transmission for you. If you would like to learn more about HIV I recommend you use our website and search for keyword HIV.

HIV can only be passed by these five body fluids:

  • blood
  • semen (including pre-cum)
  • rectal fluid
  • vaginal fluid
  • breast milk

HIV can be passed when one of these fluids from a person with HIV gets into the bloodstream of another person—through broken skin, the opening of the penis or the wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum or foreskin. HIV cannot be passed through healthy, unbroken skin.

The two main ways that HIV can be passed are:

  • through sex
  • by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs (including steroids or hormones)

HIV can also be passed:

  • to a fetus or baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • by sharing needles or ink to get a tattoo
  • by sharing needles or jewelry to get a body piercing
  • by sharing acupuncture needles

HIV cannot be passed by:

  • shaking hands, working or eating with someone who has HIV
  • hugs or kisses
  • coughs, sneezes or spitting
  • swimming pools, toilet seats or water fountains
  • insects or animals

Does this answer your question? Please let us know.

My husband and I have Genital Herpes. I had a C section due to this. We were recently away on vacation with our 8 month old. There was only a stand up shower in our hotel so my husband showered with my 8 month old. In the shower there was a sitting area. My husband sat down on it and then briefly rested my baby on his lap to wash him. He only did this for about 5-10 seconds because I saw and reminded him not to. He doesn’t have any open sores or symptoms of an outbreak and has had the virus for 9 years but I am worried sick about viral shedding. I don’t know what I would do if my baby has become infected from showering him. I’ve read mixed things such as the way you shed the virus when there is no outbreaks is through mucus membranes and Genital secretions. If this were the case he definitely did not come into contact with that but he was resting on his lap so his pubic hair area could have touched my son. Is he at risk? It’s been 6 days so far and no symptoms. Thanks you so much.

 Based on what you have shared with me it sounds like there are no significant exposures to indicate an HSV infection. Herpes is passed by skin-to-skin contact between one person who has the virus and another who does not. This contact needs to be directly with the part of the body where aperson has the virus. For example, if someone has oral herpes, their mouth is the area of the body that has the virus, not their genitals. The type of contact that usually transmits herpes involves skin rubbing on skin, like kissing or sexual activity. It also is possible for herpes to be passed if one person touchesthe part of their body that has herpes (like their genitals) and then immediately touches another person’s mouth or genitals. Sharing sex toys between one person and another without changing condoms or washing toyscan also pass the virus.

The chance of passing herpes is highest when there is an active outbreak (when sores or blisters are visible, or prodrome symptoms are present). There is no risk of passing herpes throughgeneral household activities. You can’t get herpes from a toilet seat or furniture, or fromsharing a bed or hugging someone with herpes.The herpes virus is fragile and doesn’t live more than a few minutes on most surfaces. The virus is easily killed by soap and water. Unless an item, like a spoon or a towel, is going directly from one person’s mouth or genitals to another person, there is no need to worryabout sharing household items.

Although there is no major risk exposure in the case that you’ve mentioned to me, these are the key clinical indicators of an active herpes outbreak/infection

• One or more sores that look like
water blisters, cuts, or broken skin
• The skin can feel itchy, tingling, burning, raw, or painful
• Fever, headache, or muscle aches
• Feel tired and not well

• Pain in your legs or buttocks
• The lymph nodes in the groin can be swollen and tender
• Painful urination (peeing)
• A change in vaginal discharge
• Swollen genitals


Does this answer your question? Please let us know.

Hi there couple days ago i had a sex with an escort by appointment only i took a shower and she came back she wash my hands to make sure i’m clean than we started she put condom on my fellatio to give me oral sex and than she came on top of me than we did sideways when we did sideways the condom went inside her i pulled out and we put new condom on i think the condom went inside of her maby for 1-2 minute but at the end i came inside the condom my question is what are my risk for catching STD? when something like this happen do i need to go doctor or im safe? i have no history of STD i always put condom and check for STD every year they always come back negative im a bit worried that my condom went inside the escort what are my risks? thanku


Let me know if I got this wrong but is sounds like the condom slipped off while you were having vaginal sex.

The concern would be if you came in contact with any vaginal fluids when this happed, I could see that depending were the condom was when it slipped off that your penis may or may not have come in contact with vaginal fluids.

It sounds like you have been really safe with using condoms for vaginal/oral sex and going for STI testing on a regular basis. As it is possible that your penis may have come in contact with vaginal fluid I would recommend going in for a STI test, as this would be like having unprotected vaginal sex in terms of risk. In terms of the chance of something passing this is hard to know as it really depends if the person has an STI in the first place, even if they have an STI it is never 100% that it will pass the one time you have sex.

STI like chlamydia and gonorrhea usually show up in a urine test by 2 weeks so it best to wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested unless you develop symptoms e.g. discharge from penis, hurts when you pee, sores on the penis etc.… Blood tests that check for STI like HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B usually show up by 6 weeks on a test but can take up to 3 months to get a final result.

Given this I would recommend waiting 2 weeks before getting a STI check and then go back at 6 weeks to repeat the blood test. I would also consider getting the hepatitis B vaccine if you have not had it already. We know it can be a stressful for some people when they have to wait to do a test and then wait for the results. If this is happening for you, let us know if you need any help or support during this time.

In terms of using condoms in the future having a condom that fits better (feels comfortable and you can roll it down all the way) can decrease the chance of it slipping off and we also find that some people like using a female condom if they are having a problem with a male condom fitting.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.

Health Nurse

I’ve been diagnosed with hpv and am being treated for one genital wart above my labia. My boyfriend and I (I am a female) have been having unprotected sex for 6 months and the wart (previously thought to be a skin tag) has always been present. Can my boyfriend and I still have sexual while I’m being treated, can I give him oral sex as well and do we need to use co dons. He most likely has it and can we pass it back and forth?

HPV is a skin-to-skin contact STI which means that it is possible to transmit the virus to your partner during sex. It is important to note that there are more than 150 different types of strains of HPV, and only a few will cause genital warts. This means that you don’t necesarily need to have a wart to have HPV. Rest assured that HPV is quite common and our immune systems typically clear this virus out in most individuals on average 1-2 years (This may vary on your immune system and HPV strain). If you want to minimize your risk factors of transmitting HPV I recommend using a condom to and avoiding skin to skin contact when a wart is visible.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns

Health Nurse



I had a unprotected oral sex with an unknown girl one week before.. She gave me a blowjob. I received a oral sex from her. Is there any possible than can I catch HIV from her? Do I need any HIV testing?

Hi, and thanks for your question
We don’t typically see HIV passed from oral sex, and the risk to the person receiving oral sex is considered very low. We more commonly see gonorrhea and chlamydia or infections that are passed through skin-to-skin contact like herpes or syphilis being passed this way. We always recommend routine testing for all sexually transmitted infections (HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea) for any sexually active individual

Our clinic finder can help you locate a clinic near you for testing.

Also check out our Know Your Chances charts. They are sometimes useful in understanding which STIs are passed through different types of sexual contact.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse