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oral on a woman
Feb 27, 2003

I did oral on my girlfriend a few times and i want to know how safe it is on a woman.

Response from Mr. Kull

The bottom line is that there are only a few cases documented by the CDC that demonstrate HIV transmission to a person performing oral sex on a woman. This is the best evidence that the risk of transmission through cunnilingus is very low.

This means that your symptoms are probably not related to HIV.

The risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is low when compared to unprotected vaginal and anal sex. The reasons for this, in part, have to do with biological differences: simply put, HIV seems to have a more difficult time causing infection when introduced to the mucous membranes of the mouth (saliva may provide additional protection and the cells in the mouth may not be as prone to infection). Secondly, the concentrations of HIV in vaginal secretions seem much lower than the concentrations of HIV in cervical secretions and menstrual blood. When performing oral sex on a female, the mouth is more likely to come into contact with vaginal secretions. Some sources suggest that vaginal fluids dilute the more infectious fluid, decreasing the chances of transmission to someone's mouth.

It is important that you do not perform unprotected oral sex on a woman when she is menstruating (blood has a much higher concentration of HIV), and if you are experiencing any problems with your oral health (sores, abrasions, inflammation). If you would like to decrease the risk of transmission even further, you can use a latex barrier--like a dental dam or a condom cut into a square--between your partner's vagina and your mouth.

You might be at risk for other sexually transmitted infections when performing oral sex on a woman, but again, you are at greatest risk for STIs when engaging in vaginal or anal sex.

For more about transmission through oral sex, see the CDC's fact sheet on oral transmission

RMK



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