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Can you exsplain this?

Jun 21, 2002

I recently read an article you wrote about a study done in Spain involving HIV and oral sex. In the study over a 10 year period which followed 135 serodiscordent couples and an estimated 19,000 unprotected oral sex acts with the infected partner thier were no cases of HIV infection by the HIV negitive partner. Yet many still advocate safe or sex? Why wouldnt if it were possible reasitically it happen at least once out 19,000 oppertunities? I mean thats like less than being killed in a car wreck? Why will no one say that for all intentive purposes oral sex is safe sex? I am very confussed and would just like to know if you could please tell me.

Response from Dr. Boyle

I understand your confusion, but keep in mind that this is just one study. Other studies have placed the risk of oral sex much higher, and in fact have found that as many as 6% of all patients may be infected through oral sex. Apparently, it's one of those things where if you do it enough times eventually it will happen. So, when people hear that unprotected oral sex is safe they preferentially switch to that and then end up getting infected because HIV transmission, although uncommon, can occur through that route. So the bottom line is it's not a good idea, just like driving without a seat belt is not a good idea even though the risk of a traffic accident is not that high. When the consequences are disastrous, taking appropriate precautions, even though risks may be small, is the smart thing to do, right?

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