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Oral Sex on a HIV+ partner
Nov 27, 2002

My partner and I were together for about one year and them broke things off. During the time after the breakup, he apparently found that we was HIV+. I was tested about 3-4 months after our last sexual encounter and was HIV negative. Recently, we I preformed oral sex on him briefly without any known pre or ejaculation in my mouth. I need to know if I have been exposed to the virus for completing this act. Should I start taking PEP treatments? I understand that it all depends on the situation with a person mouth. I have a tooth that has decayed and needs a root canal, also I have a few other teeth that need caps. No recent dental work has been done. I believe that I also may have brushed my teeth about and hour before the oral sex act. I found out his status after performing oral sex on him and now I'm extremely paniced. Should I be retested? Take the PEP program? Please advise.

Response from Dr. Remien

The best information we have says that testing at three months is conclusive for the vast majority of the population. In unusual circumstances, repeat testing at six months might be indicated for a person who has had an exposure to a person known to HIV infected or if the person is experiencing unexplained symptoms indicative of acute HIV infection despite negative antibody tests at three months. In those cases, testing at six months is a precaution to rule out the tiny possibility that the HIV antibody test was not accurate at three months. However, testing at three months is highly accurate. If you are still concerned, see your doctor.

Regarding PEP - you are right, this needs to be judged on a case by case basis, with a qualified physician. However, it is only effective if administered within a very short period of time after exposure. It is best if treatment begins within several hours after a high-risk exposure, or if necessary, up to 24-36 hours after the exposure. The benefits of beginning treatment beyond 36 hours are not really known. I do not believe it would be recommended at all if it is more 72 hours after exposure.

It sounds like the risk of infection is very low given your description. You should consult with your physician, but there seems to be no need for you to "panic."


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