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Oral Sex And Hiv Transmission Risks

By / August 12, 2015

Several women and men find ultimate pleasure in oral sex but little do they know of the associated risks. Though many doctors and researchers have never been sure of the exact number of people who have contracted HIV/AIDS through oral sex, some think that 3% of HIV infections are attributed to oral sex. In fact, researchers in 2008 gathered enough evidence and concluded that HIV risk through oral sex is very low but not zero. Dental health of the partners has been proven to play a key role in HIV transmission during oral sex. The risk is centered on fluid containing the virus (vaginal fluid, semen or blood) which find their way into ones bloodstream through sores, cuts or inflammation that may be present in the mouth or throat.

The level of risk depends on type of the oral sex performed. Here, oral sex means licking or sucking woman’s or man’s genitals respectively. Where HIV-negative person (probably a woman) performs oral sex on HIV-positive man, the oral sex is referred to as ‘receptive fellatio’ and it is possible that HIV transmission can happen. Where HIV-negative man receives oral sex from HIV-positive person, the oral sex is referred to as ‘insertive fellatio’ and HIV transmission is very low, sometimes impossible. Finally, performing oral sex on a woman (cunnilingus) is less risky but biologically possible since few HIV transmission reports have been reported.

It is also worth mentioning that while giving a blow job to a man infected with HIV, ejaculation in your mouth is very risky since the semen is known to be the virus carrier. This risk becomes worse in situations where the man has oral ulcers or bleeding gums. Additionally, the risk of HIV infection through oral sex is less compared to vaginal or anal sex but it is difficult to measure the actual risk since many people practice oral sex as well as other forms of sexual intercourse in the same encounter. The risk is lower if the partner is already taking PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) correctly and consistently or he/she is already infected but is taking ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy).

Despite all these risks, you should always be aware that protecting yourself through barrier methods like using condoms, dental dams, natural rubber latex sheets, or cut-open non-lubricated condoms is the only remedy to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, avoiding ejaculation to your mouth during oral sex can play a vital role in minimizing the risk. Therefore, making your own decision concerning the risk level you find acceptable is important in preventing HIV transmission.

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