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Can STDs Facilitate HIV Transmission by Oral Sex?
Apr 13, 2003

Dear Ryan,

I hope you can help me - I've read your archives but can't find an answer to what I think is a grey area in information concerning transmission of HIV by oral sex, and the role of STDs in increasing the likelihood of HIV transmission.

I've read that the risk of HIV transmission thru oral sex is very low for the insertive partner (no documented cases). But I've also read that the presence of an STD increases the likelihood of HIV transmission & infection.

I received unprotected oral sex from a sex-worker 3 weeks ago, & for the past 9 days have had symptoms such as fatigue, skin sensitivity and brachial neuritis.

Today I was diagnosed with non-gonococcal urethritis, which doesn't explain the above symptoms but got me worrying over whether the NGU had facilitated transmission of HIV, which could explain them.

Would the presence of NGU make transmission of HIV by oral sex possible? Could this account for my symptoms?

Please reply - I'm going crazy with worry.

Yours,

Stressed

Response from Mr. Kull

The presence of sexually transmitted infections can facilitate transmission in certain circumstances. Having genital STIs when having unprotected vaginal or anal sex can increase your risk for infection; it seems that this dynamic is most significant in increasing a person's risk for infection.

In your circumstance, you are being exposed to saliva, which is not known to transmit HIV regardless of the presence or absence of STIs.

RMK



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