Sex outside your main relationship

Award winning clinic for healthcare and business quality standards in 2016 & 2018

Let’s talk about your situation…

If you have had sex outside your relationship, of course you’re scared and you’ve probably read a lot online that does little to help the situation. Open House understands these concerns and we’ve created this page to orientate you and help to calm you down by giving you accurate information and a plan of action. If you want to visit us, you will find a team that will provide a speedy and effective solution treating you with humanity and understanding.

Start reading our advice here…

  • What I’m most frightened about is HIV / AIDS
  • I have no idea if there are other diseases relevant to the kind of sex I had
  • Internet just confuses and what I read panics me
  • Can’t something be done to stop any infections from developing?
  • Can I do tests straight away or should I wait?
  • I think I’ve got all kinds of symptoms…
  • When will I be able to have sex with my partner again?
  • I’ve got children – are they at any risk?
  • I can’t sleep or eat, please help me, I’m desperate
What I’m most frightened about is HIV / AIDS

But HIV risk is not likely. Do you know why?

  • It is not a common sexually transmitted disease: In Spain, heterosexuals who have caught HIV in sex (not through sharing needles) number some 20,000 people. Considering that there are 2 million people in Spain with diabetes, 800,000 people with hepatitis C and some 50,000 with multiple sclerosis, it would be correct to say that HIV is a rare. The reason is explained in the following section. It is important to keep this in mind while you decide if you want to do a test or not.
  • HIV is not very infectious in oral and vaginal sex: This virus requires an EXTRAORDINARILY COMPLEX environment to survive and to passed on to another person. It dies immediately once in contact with the cold or outside the body. It requires repeated inoculation with force, in other words, someone’s bodily fluids on your body cannot cause HIV infection.  Here’s an interesting fact: if you inject the blood of someone with HIV into the vein of another person, their risk of catching HIV is about 50%. It is a weak virus.

This virus is not normally transmitted in oral sex. Even if you think about a situation with ulcers in the mouth the rate of infection is about 0.01%. If someone who is HIV positive infects you with another disease like gonorrhoea, chlamydia or syphilis, the risk of catching their HIV is about 0,05%. Plus, the HIV negative partners in a relationship with an HIV positive person usually have oral sex without a condom. In practice, we tend not to see HIV in oral sex. Of course there have been cases described but it is not the main route of transmission.

– But in vaginal sex, it is much more common, isn’t it?
The risk for a man having unprotected vaginal sex with a woman is about 0,1%. So even with repeated penetration this is not a very infectious virus.

– So how is it that we do see HIV in heterosexual people?
Our experience is that it is much more likely in anal sex, and that is why we see it so often between men.

I have no idea if there are other diseases relevant to the kind of sex I had

There are quite a number, and they are about 100 times more infectious! There are other sexually transmitted infections that are much more common than HIV and they too can be silent. In our heterosexual clients, see below the rate of positive results we see:

  • Chlamydia: Every 17 tests that we perform
  • Gonorrhoea: Every 29 tests that we perform
  • Syphilis: Every 120 tests that we perform in heterosexuales and every 7 in men who have sex with men
  • Hepatitis B: Every 330 tests that we perform
  • HIV: Every 2300 tests that we perform
In the throat, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis are nearly always silent (between 90 and 100% of cases).
In the urethra (penis) 60% of all cases of chlamydia, 30% of gonorrhoea cases and 15% of syphilis is silent.
But remember that these infections are all bacterias and so can be treated with antibiotics once detected.
However, being bacterial, doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. For example, chlamydia is an important cause of infertility in women.

Open House always considers these infections much more relevant than HIV.

Internet just confuses and what I read panics me

Open House has performed searches for terms such as “the risk of HIV in oral sex” and it is incredible what is you can find. We have also seen, in websites of other clinics and laboratories working in this field false data which only serves to panic the reader. We hope that they are not just trying to capture business. Not everything you read on the internet is true.
Everything we have written on our website about the risk of infections, approved and unapproved tests etc. is not just Open House’s opinion but comes from published scientific publications. This is our policy of “fair competition” an aspect of great importance to our medical director. In fact, since 2011, the website of Open House has been recognised as a “Healthcare Website of Interest” after being reviewed by opinion-leaders working in this field, this scrutiny being managed by the Spanish group Portales Médicos.
It is easy to get lost in the mass of data that internet offer, but now you have crossed paths with us and you can always write to us for more information. We don’t do online consultations but we are happy to help point you in the right direction by email, or if you prefer a consultation please call us for an appointment.

Can’t something be done to stop any infections from developing?

There are some situations in which we can act rqapidly to stop certain bacterial infections from taking a hold: gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis. But we obviously cannot be giving antibiotics to everyone and so we have an internal protocol to decide who is a candidate and who isn’t. Some of the criteria that you would have to fulfill are:

  1. that the sexual contact was only oral sex
  2. that the sexual contact was less than 3 days ago.

In these cases please call for an appointment and we will see whether you fulfil the other criteria once you’re in the consultation.

Can I do tests straight away or should I wait?

That tests acheive their maximum performance and detection you should wait for the “window period”.
This not an invention of Open House, but rather is based on international guidelines. Open House has detected that in many websites of clinics working in this field, they do not respect the window period. This means money down the drain and a waste of time and risks the disease not being detected properly. For more information regarding this window period click on our referee on the left.

Summary of the necessary window periods:

  • Gonorrhoea: 1 week
  • Chlamydia: 2 weeks
  • Syphilis: 3 weeks
  • Hepatitis B: 4 weeks
  • HIV: 10 days, 3-4 weeks or 3 months depending on the technique and whether you want to do this test from home or in our clinic

– Can an HIV test really be done at 10 days or 4 weeks? 
The five infections mentioned above can all exist without symptoms.
So when the four week window period has gone by, it is actually possible to do a check-up of all these infections, knowing that tests are at their optimum performance levels.

I think I’ve got all kinds of symptoms…

If you have symptoms, pick up the phone and come and see us. Anxiety can induce all sorts of symptoms. In our experience, the more symptoms you have, the more likely it is that they are due to stress. The Internet tends not to help this situation.
For example, it is quite common to read the following symptoms as those of HIV seronconversion:
“Fever, swollen glands, sore throat, mouth ulcers, coated tongue, headache, irritability or depression, nausea, diarrhoea or abdominal pain”
Two observations: it does sound a lot like a bad cold, doesn’t it? So isn’t a cold much more likely than HIV?
It would be wrong to say that a sore throat and headache after having had sex is going to be due to HIV. No. If this seroconversion syndrome occurs it is overwhelming – in other words it is all of these aforementioned symptoms happening at the same time and you are unable to get out of bed.

When will I be able to have sex with my partner again?

It’s difficult to answer this question, but as a general we would say the following:

  • If you are sufficiently worried to consider doing tests, then we should also consider the possibility, however remote, that they may be positive. Therefore you should wait until you have your test results before having unprotected sex with your partner.
  • You should wait until the so-called window period has gone by before doing tests to make sure they are at maximum detection. Click on the photo of our referee to remind yourself what this is all about.
I’ve got children – are they at any risk?

It is totally impossible to transmit sexually transmitted diseases to children by kissing them etc. No risk of sexually transmitted infections has ever been shown with this kind of contact.
It is important to remember that they are sexually transmitted, not casually transmitted. If it was that easy to catch these things, we would all be infected the whole time. You could even imagine cases where infections were transmitted from medical personnel who haven’t washed their hands to their patients, the elderly in nursing homes, children etc., and we can assure you that when we see these infections in these groups of people it has always been due to sexual abuse, not to casual contact.
But we do understand you are under a lot of stress and your mind may be hyperactive right now. We are here for you if you need to talk.

I can’t sleep or eat, please help me, I’m desperate
Many of our clients have found themselves in your situation. The don’t come throught the doctor’s office door with skin rashes, cough, knee pain, but with anxiety. What we will try to do is to get you back to a normal life as soon as possible and if you are overcome with stress right now we have some practical advice:
    • You need to have a clear picture of the risks of each disease in the kind of sex you have had. As you have seen here, things that are scary like HIV are not so common.
    • You have to wait a while before you can do tests. If you really think you will not be able to wait because you can’t sleep etc., come and see us and our doctor could prescribe you something to help, or maybe speaking to our psychologist could help. She can teach you some deep relaxation techniques to help you overcome this stress.
    • You can always try to reduce your anxiety doing your own “cognitive therapy”. This consists in trying to make an effort to interrupt negative thoughts with positive ones. For example:

What if I’ve got HIV and my girlfriend leaves me ?
No. It was only oral sex for a few seconds and that’s not how it’s transmitted. We hardly ever see cases like that.
I’ve got swollen glands and that’s a sign of HIV according to the internet
No, because swollen glands in HIV would be accompanied by many other symptoms. Plus, the sex was not high risk for HIV.
The end of my cock is red and since she was a prostitute I bet I’ve caught something
I’m not going to go crazy over this, I’ve going to go to Open House and see what they have to say as soon as possible.

And don’t read up on the internet anymore. It’s time to close your computer and find help, and if you want, we can help you. It’s our job and we know what we’re talking about.

Keep calm, take a deep breath if you need us don’t hesitate to call us

Confused by what you’ve read? Three suggestions

How can we help you?

Call us to book an appointment or get information

Caution! It is important to read about the Window Period before doing tests UNLESS YOU HAVE WORRYING SYMPTOMS

Please trust our clinical judgement. Open House has done nearly 72.000 STI tests.

What would you like to do now?

I would like to know more about the risks of oral, vaginal or anal sex

I want to do a full checkup

I want to know more about HIV tests

I want to know more about STIs symptoms

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