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Risk of Oral Transmission to Heterosexual Males
Jul 26, 2002

RMK,

If I understand what I have read from you on this site, it seems that heterosexual males are at the least risk of being infected with HIV from oral sex because there is little to no risk to the man in fellatio and transmission through cunnilingus carries little risk to the man because of reason that I have read from you Q1. Am I correct from this inference? Q2. I have heard you say that there have only been a few documented cases from oral sex on a woman. Is there a place where people can review these documentations?

Side Question: I don't know if you know this or not, but isn't it true that all recruits that are going into the military are tested for HIV and if they test positive, they are immediately disqualified from entering?

Response from Mr. Kull

Heterosexual males, meaning men who only have sexual contact with women, who are not injection drug users are at significantly less risk for HIV infection then other groups (such as men who have sex with men, injection drug users, and women) in the United States. This is not necessarily true for other countries, where rates of transmission to heterosexual males is comparable to rates of transmission to women (like in sub-Saharan Africa).

The likelihood of transmission through cunnilingus (using the mouth to stimulate the vagina) has nothing to do with hetereosexuality per se, but more to do with biology. Remember, women perform cunnilingus on other women as well. The fact that HIV transmission between same sex female couples is extremely rare speaks to the low-risk of transmission through cunnilingus. See Cunnilingus.... For more about transmission through oral sex, see the CDC's fact sheet on oral transmission.

The armed forces in the United States cannot discharge an existing servicemember for being HIV infected (I do not know the policies for recruitment). Attempts to pass legislation to discharge HIV infected military personnel were shot down in 1996. However, mandatory testing among servicemembers does exist, and those who find out that they are infected are at increased risk for stigmatization and discimination. The military does provide medical care for those personnel who are HIV positive. See The Armed Forces and HIV for more info.

RMK



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