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hiv+ and oral sex
Feb 18, 2008

Dear Dr.Bob, I've carefully checked other questions and haven't found anything similiar to my situation: I've been in a relationship with a hiv+ guy for couple of months now. I've been hiv+ since Apr.2007, not on ARV medications so far (CD4 count 830). My boyfriend has been diagnosed with HIV about three-four years ago and has been on medications for about three years now. My question is: having in mind the "stages" of the dissease that we are in, are there any bad effects for me if I swallow his semen? Some interactions between viruses maybe? Thank you so much, Doctor!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The real issue here is not interactions between viruses or even different "stages" of illness, but rather whether you could contract another strain of the virus, which might be detrimental. Oral sex carries only a very low risk for HIV transmission. Many folks consider this level of risk acceptable and have unprotected oral sex, including swallowing. Others have unprotected oral sex, but don't swallow or allow ejaculation in the mouth. Still others feel that only latex-protected oral sex is acceptable. The ultimate choice has to be acceptable to both you and your partner. Dual infections (superinfections, reinfections) can occur, but we do not know with what frequency. It appears to be more likely early in the course of the illness. The risk for HIV transmission is also markedly reduced when antiretroviral medications drive the HIV plasma viral load to undetectable levels. You can read much more about these and related issues in the archives. Check it out!

Dr. Bob



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