Now you see it…

Message dated February 23rd: “Please call me. It’s of an urgent private matter.”

That was the message left for me when I returned from lunch. I called the patient back right away. I had a hunch what it was going to be in reference to considering the word choices. Urgent private matter usually translates into, something horrible happened last night.

“Thank you doctor for calling me back. Can you hold? I’m at work.”


When he returns, I can hear the breathlessness in his voice. “Okay, I went out last night to a bar and got drunk. I met this guy, and we went home together and had sex. We used a condom but… I passed out. When I woke up, he was sleeping next to me.”

“I’m listening.”

“Well, I asked him what happened, and he said he fell asleep too. But then I was thinking, ‘Where is the condom?'”

“Okay, I give. Where is it?”

“That’s just it, we couldn’t find it.”

“Well a condom doesn’t just disappear. Not unless you were sleeping with David Copperfield.”

“I think it’s still inside me.”

“May I suggest you solve this mystery right away. Why don’t you go to the bathroom and check? Call me back.”

Fifteen minutes later I received a phone call from the same patient who is now even more frantic. “I just checked, and it was still inside me. How could that happen?”

“Was there semen in it?”

“I can’t tell. What do I do?”

This patient was started on HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis because we did not know his partner’s HIV status. We also had no way of contacting him.

Some of you may enjoy sloppy drunk sex; but as in this case, you may get more than you bargained for. Condoms don’t just disappear into thin air, and retrieving one from your anus is not like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.


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