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blood in my mouth?
Aug 27, 2007

Dear Dr. Bob,

First of all, thanks to you for being such a helpful and honest resource. I hope you take a moment every now and again to realize how many people's lives you are benefiting by being here.

After the end of a long-term relationship I have recently begun dating again. Luckily, I have found a wonderful guy whom I have started to see romantically these past couple of weeks. (I am also a guy.) He says he is HIV negative and always has safe sex.

We were naked together for the first time on Friday night. There was mutual oral (both ways), but without ejaculation in the mouth, mutual masturbation, and lots of heavy kissing. At some point in the action I realized that I had cut something on the inside of my mouth; there was blood in my saliva, which I saw leave a reddish trail where I was licking his body. I don't know when the cut occurred, or how long I had been bleeding; we had been kissing throughout, and I expect he would have stopped if there was an obvious taste of blood, but I can't be sure. At any rate, I waited for the blood to stop before putting his penis back in my mouth.

I remember keeping alert for blood through the rest of the session (the point at which I first noticed it was probably half-way through a period of some two or more hours) and not seeing it. The following morning I discovered that there was a pretty nasty gash in the soft tissue on the underside of my tongue, which could have been either from his teeth or from my tongue scraping against my own canines. I presume it was from there that the blood was coming.

So my question is: could this cut and the blood in my mouth have made me susceptible to acquiring HIV orally? I myself am HIV negative (safe sex and regular negative tests), so I know there wasn't a risk for him, but I can't help but wonder if I put myself at risk. Could, for instance, some drops (or more) of his pre-cum have gotten into the part of my mouth where the cut was, where the virus might have had easier access to my bloodstream? But since the cut was under my tongue, I don't think the damaged area would have been directly exposed to his fluids.

I have had a history of paranoia about HIV, which I'm sorting through with the help of a very compassionate counselor, so I know I may be stressing about nothing. But please let me know what you think.

With thanks for everything you do,

Worried in NYC

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Thanks for your kind comments!

Regarding hypothetical HIV transmission risk, yes, an actively bleeding cut in the mouth would increase potential HIV transmission if that area were exposed to significant amounts of HIV-infected bodily fluids. However, considering your exposure was oral sex without ejaculation with a partner who claims to be HIV negative, I do think your actual risk remains negligible at best. Since you and Mr. Wonderful are beginning to get hot-and-heavy, why not suggest you both go for HIV rapid tests together as you enter this new phase of your relationship? You'll have accurate results within 20 minutes. If you're both negative, you'll have additional reason to relax, as the only potential risk left would be the extremely unlikely possibility that Mr. Wonderful is recently infected and still in his window period.

So are you stressing out about nothing? Most likely yes you are, but if you want additional reassurance all is "well," testing is always an option.

Good luck to you and your new hottie!

Dr. Bob



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