2 oral encounters with HIV+ guy, am I screwed?
Nov 20, 2000
I have already answered this question myself many times before but I'll ask it again anyhow:
A few weeks ago I had two separate encounters with a guy where we solely had oral sex. He did have some pre-cum and I know for a fact that I ingested a little bit of it, but he didn't come in my mouth. I know that I brushed my teeth about an hour before each encounter, but I don't remember having any cold sores or inflammation/tearing in my mouth either time. A few days after the 2nd encounter he tells me he is HIV+. This, of course, has sent me off the deep end and I am convinced I have been infected. I went and got a test about a week ago, but don't yet know the results. Just how screwed am I? Everyone telling me that I'm not in any serious danger, because oral is low-risk, but I refuse to believe it. I thought I was being safe by not performing anal sex on someone (it's not something I find a turn on anyway) but it appears as though this isn't the case. Everywhere I've looked says that it's possible and that it's increasing as a transmission medium. What should I do besides write my will?
-Losing It in SF
Response from Mr. Kull
Don't go writing your will yet. Many guys go through exactly what you are experiencing and don't come back infected. Performing oral sex on a guy is still a low-risk activity, so be careful with what you hear on the streets. There was a lot of misinterpretation and hype about a recent study out of San Francisco about oral sex. Those findings show that it is possible to get infected through performing oral sex on guys (which we knew), but did not dramatically change our assumptions about the odds of infection through oral sex. It is still much more likely to get infected if you actually get ejaculate (not just pre-cum) in your mouth. Gum disease and sores in your mouth will increase your risk. The brushing your teeth thing is a recommendation and, to my knowledge, has not been studied in any controlled research project. The quantity of virus in his semen and the potential effects of antiviral medications on that quantity will make a difference as well.
Read through this article: Don't Swallow: A Look at the Risks of Oral Sex. I think it gives a great perspective on this subject.
I don't want to minimize your concern. You have been potentially exposed to HIV and that is scary. But you are practicing safer sex. As far as exposures go, it is in a low-risk category and the odds are in your favor of being uninfected, but infection is still possible. Get antibody tested after three months have elapsed. Since you know your partner was positive, you would probably be eligible for PCR testing. Ask your doctor about it.
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