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Do receding gums put me at greater risk for infection?
May 8, 2003

Hi again Dr. Bob -

Once again fantastic job. Kudos!!

For another 50 to your foundation a few more questions?

Would a guy with receding gums (but not bleeding) be at higher risk than others when performing cunnilingus on a female sex worker. I'm the moron that performed oral sex on a sex worker while working in Chile. She didn't appear to have STD's, cuts etc on her Vagina, nor was she menstrating. I guess I wasn't as informed as I thought because had I read through these posts prior to my trip I would not have done anything like this at all. At times fear is a beneficial thing. Unfortunately mine is now after the fact which isn't quite as beneficial.

I can't help but think this was the biggest mistake of my life. I don't know what it is about being out of town (and especially out of the country) but it seems a persons whole attitude changes and inhibitions are lowered for some reason. That is the first and last time I will do that as the guilt and anxiety are killing me. I have a 2 year girl friend that I hope to marry soon and feel like an idiot for putting myself (and her) in a potentially dangerous situation. Even if low risk.

If you were me (which wouldn't be good for you as you are a far better human being). :) Based recent studies noting that transmission rates are low relating to oral sex, would you still absolutely get an HIV/STD test? It has been about 6-7 weeks with no symptoms of STD's but of course HIV on the other hand can be symptom free for years.

Also, given my risk level, how comfortable would you be having unprotected sex with your partner prior to taking a test, or would you be comfortable without taking a test? I have managed to avoid sex for the last 6 weeks due to business travel and other but it is becoming more difficult. We are serious and monogomous, except for this one dumb instance where I made a big mistake. Since we are monogomous (until now) and have both been disease free, we have practiced unprotected sex.

Thanks again and I'm looking forward to your answer and sending another 50 to your foundation.

Have a great weekend Dr. Bob!!

DA

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey DA,

You wouldnt be trying to bribe me now, would you?

Receding gums? Are you getting a little "long in the tooth" DA? (Thats an Australian expression that Ive always found amusing.) Anyway, "long in the tooth" or not no, your risk would not be changed. Remember, oral sex carries an extremely, extremely small risk for HIV transmission. This risk seems to get smaller with each published study. Again, this doesnt mean its impossible, just that its extremely unlikely.

Should you get an HIV test? Well, only you can decide that. All I can do is let you know the odds are astronomically in your favor for not having contracted HIV.

No sex for 6 weeks? Better be careful the plumbing doesnt back up on you, DA. Any chance you could level with your sweetie? That way you could use condoms for the next 6 weeks, get tested, see that its negative, yell WOO-HOO, and live happily ever after.

Do I think there is a significant risk if you dont use condoms? No, most likely not, but the "theoretical" risk remains. Seeing that you are somewhat anxious and guilty over this whole episode already, Im worried that having unprotected sex with your partner might heighten your fears. Even though the truth can be awfully difficult at times, it really does usually turn out to be the best thing in the long run. It may even strengthen your relationship. Were all human; we all make mistakes. Give it some thought.

Thank you for your contribution to The Foundation. Your donation will make a remarkable difference in the lives of many! On their behalf, please accept my sincere appreciation.

Stay well. (Im quite convinced you are indeed well.)

Dr. Bob



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