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Risk of infection
Jun 13, 2011

Dear Dr. Frascino,

I am a 35 year old guy. Two weeks ago I had unprotected oral sex with another guy whose HIV status I do not know. He performed oral sex on me, fingered me, and I performed oral sex on him. There was no ejaculation, but there may have been pre-cum.

Now I am terrified that I may be infected. I did a rapid HIV test after 4 days, but then they told me at the clinic that, if the possible exposure was 4 days ago, then the result is meaningless. So I would have to get tested again in three months.

In the meantime, I have mild symptoms of cold, such as swollen lymph glands and body aches. I cannot be around my wife and kids because I am afraid that I am infectious. Is my fear exaggerated? What is the risk of infection from unprotected oral sex (without ejaculation)? I keep reading inconsistent information about the risk associated with oral sex and whether or not pre-cum is an infectious body fluid.

Please help!

Thank you, Worried father

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Worried Father.

If you are reading inconsistent information about the HIV risk associated with oral sex or the infectiousness of pre-cum, you haven't been reading it in this forum. I've been answering questions identical to yours for years and my responses have not wavered one iota! In fact we have an entire chapter in the archives of this forum devoted to oral sex. Check it out! I'm confident you'll find the information there both enlightening and reassuring.

Specifically addressing your concerns:

1. Yes, pre-cum from an HIV-infected guy can indeed be infectious.

2. The risk of HIV transmission from oral sex is low, but not completely nonexistent. See link below.

Your problem is primarily guilt about your extramarital activity and perhaps also about your sexual identity. Obsessing about HIV is easier than facing more complex issues, such as infidelity and sexual orientation. I would suggest you level with your wife. It's not only the best way to confront your guilt; it's also the right thing to do. You can use latex condoms until your HIV-negative status is confirmed. You should get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. (HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be conclusive.) I would also strongly recommend you consult with a licensed mental health professional to delve into sexual orientation issues.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

HIV from receiving oral sex (TRANSMISSION VIA ORAL SEX, 2011) May 18, 2011



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