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Exposed to HIV via Oral Sex
Aug 17, 2006

Hi Dr. Frascino-

I just got back from vacation in provincetown, MA, and I am now freaking out about an oral sex experiance that I had with a person that is HIV poz.

Here's what happened. I met a person at a bar who told me that he's been HIV poz for about 20 yrs and been on meds for that long as well. Because of the chemistry between us, I made a desicion to engage in oral sex with him. We did unprotected receptive and insertive oral sex, and now I am freaking out about it. The insertive oral sex lasted for all of 5 seconds. I could have swore I tasted some precum, so I spit out what I tasted, and then stopped. The next day, I felt a small ulser (canker sore) in my upper gum(although I"m not sure that I had it during the time of oral sex because I didnt' feel it then). Another thing we did was "share" a piece of chocolate where I sucked on it for a while, and then kissed him while it was in my mouth. We "passed" the chocolate back and forth untill it was gone. I knew that you can't get hiv from kissing, so I thought this may be a fun and safe way to interact with him.

Recently, I've read so many articles regarding oral sex and it's safety and they all seem contradictive and confusing. Some say that it's a relatively low risk behavior while others make it sound a bit more risky.

I know I need to get tested in 3 months to get an accurate test result,however, I have a feeling that I am going to drive myself crazy in the mean time worrying about my status.

Given my circumstances, what do you feel is my level of risk? Did I make bad choices by having abbreviated oral sex and sharing the chocolate? What are the current findings of hiv risk with oral sex?

I am worried sick :(

I have donated money in the past, and I will certainly do so again. I really apprecaite your insight and feedback.

thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The "current findings" on the HIV risk associated with oral sex really haven't changed much. The HIV risk remains very low. The risk is always greater for the receptive partner compared to the insertive partner in any type of sex oral, anal or vaginal. In your case the "sucker" would be at higher risk than the "suckee." The chocolate sharing trick would not be considered an HIV risk. Therefore, your total HIV risk for the entire event remains very low at best.

To give you some idea of level of risk, the statistical estimated per-act risk for acquiring HIV from unprotected insertive oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is 0.5 per 10,000 exposures. Consequently, I do not believe you should be "worried sick." Sure, get tested at the three-month mark to put your residual fears to rest, but realize in the meantime that the odds are astronomically in your favor, OK? If the stress of waiting through the window period is difficult for you to cope with, consider getting some counseling or treatment for your anxiety. Alternatively, try volunteering some of your time at an AIDS hospice or other worthy cause children's cancer center, homeless shelter, etc. Helping others in desperate need is an excellent way to keep our own problems and challenges in their proper perspective.

Thanks for your donation! In return I'm sending you my best good-luck karma that your definitive HIV test at three months will be negative!

Dr. Bob



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