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oral sex once can I get hiv, Please help!!!
Mar 19, 2003

Doctor Kull

I am a 19 year old girl. I recently gave oral sex to a male friend of mine. His girlfriend before that had cheated on him with a person who was to have been rumored to have stds. a couple weeks after oral sex I got a cold with a sore throat, swollen glands, headache and runny nose. around that same time my father had a cold as well so I don't know if I am just overeacting. Could I have hiv? I am very worried. I have not heard of his ex girlfriend having anything wrong with her or anything wrong with him.I worry about this everyday! I can't function. Can you help!

Response from Mr. Kull

You could have a cold! Why not go with the more likely answer?

Most of the information about HIV transmission through oral sex that is published, including information that is provided on The Body, states that the risk of infection through performing oral sex on an infected person is anywhere from low to extremely low, and is definitely lower than unprotected vaginal or anal sex. There are different reasons why this may be true:

1) Epidemiology: there is evidence that HIV has been transmitted through receptive fellatio (performing oral sex on a man), but the numbers are MUCH lower than infections occuring through vaginal or anal sex. Most studies to date demonstrate that the risk of infection through fellatio is low, and a recent study showed that the risk was almost negligible. If oral sex were as risky as anal or vaginal sex, the numbers would most likely reflect that.

2) Biology: saliva contains some protective factors that may inactivate HIV when it comes into contact with the mouth. Studies have found that a protein in saliva inactivates HIV (up to 90% of virus was inactivated in one test tube study). The mucous membranes of the mouth may also be less prone to infection with HIV when compared to the mucous membranes of the rectum and genitals.

While oral contact with HIV infected pre-ejaculate is sufficient for infection to occur, infection is more likely to occur when a person ejaculates in the mouth.

The bottom line is this: if any infected fluids (like semen or pre-cum) come into contact with your mucous membranes (like the lining of the urethra, vagina, rectum, or mouth), there is a risk of transmission. The actual LIKELIHOOD of transmission is a different story, and in your case it's really low. If you're interested, there are ways to decrease the already low risk of transmission through oral sex.

Getting his semen in your mouth increases that risk. Ejaculation in the mouth probably accounts for most cases of transmission through oral sex, so try to avoid this. Your oral health and the presence of sexually transmitted infections in the mouth will influence the risk of transmission. The likelihood of infection for you will also be dependent upon the status/risk factors of the person with whom you had oral sex. You could always use a condom (though most people have trouble with this) for oral sex. However, the most important prevention is using condoms during vaginal or anal sex, as those activities represent the vast majority of transmissions.

RMK



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