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Oral sex on HIV+ man

Jan 17, 2002

My boyfriend is HIV+ and has an undetectable viral load. How risky is it to perform oral sex (no ejaculation) on him? I'm in good health (physically & orally).

Response from Mr. Kull

Check out Robert Remien's forum for "Mixed-HIV-Status Couples" here at The Body to see the way different couples handle situations like yours.

Safety in relationships is ultimately subjective since sexual activity between you two will never be 100% safe. It will be important for you both to become more educated about HIV transmission and prevention and negotiate a sexual relationship that feels good to the both of you.

Unprotected anal and vaginal sex is the most effective way to transmit HIV. Being the receptive partner increases your risk for infection, and ejaculation in the vagina or rectum may increase that risk further. Some couples decide to not have the positive partner ejaculate inside the condom in case of breakage, tearing, or slippage. Wearing a condom for both insertive and receptive anal sex is advisable.

Oral sex is a gray area. Your partner performing oral sex on you poses only a theoretical risk of transmission. Saliva doesn't cause infection. Performing oral sex on your partner without a condom poses a low-risk for infection. There have been cases of transmission through receptive fellatio; most of those cases involved contact with semen or pre-semen. You should avoid getting his semen in your mouth, especially if you have any problems with oral health, or there are active STDs on his penis or in your mouth. Putting a condom on his penis for oral sex practically eliminates the risk of transmission.

Read through the info on "Oral Sex" at The Body for more info (

Your partner's viral load (the amount of virus circulating in his blood, semen, or other bodily fluids) probably has an impact on the likelihood of transmission of HIV to you. Recent studies seem to support this. It makes sense: the less virus that comes into contact with your mucous membranes, the less likely infection will occur.


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