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To douche or not to douche?

Dr. David: I had unprotected sex, but I douched after. Does that help prevent HIV?

Dr. Demetre: You have some questions? We know HIV.

Dr. David: I’m a doctor. I’m trained for this. Dr. Leandro: We’re gonna give you what you need.

Dr. David: The short answer to that question is no. If you douche after you have sex, that’s not going to wash the HIV out of your rectum if you do get exposure with someone who is living with HIV. But it actually may irritate the inside of the rectal lining and when it irritates the rectal lining there may be bleeding that you can’t even see and when you have bleeding in the rectum that’s when HIV can really get in and cause an infection. So the short answer to your question is no and just be careful about when you’re douching and if you do have questions about types of douches or enemas that you want to use to clean, either before or after anal intercourse, make sure you talk to your medical provider about it.

Considering douching? Dr. David discusses all things douching – including how it can actually put you at higher risk for HIV.

#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decision.

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