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Cunnilingus along with very nasty habit
Aug 13, 2011

Hi doctor, first off thank you very much taking the time to read this. A few days ago I engaged in protected heterosexual sex along with unprotected cunnillingus with a girl at college. I have read a number of your posts that describe the low HIV risk associated with cunnillingus but I also noticed that there are some extenuating circumstances that excentuate this risk. That is what I would like to ask you about. I have the nasty habit of using camel snus which is a form of chewing tobacco that is supposed to be less hard on the gums and mouth. So much so that you are supposed to swallow the nicotine "juice" that is produced in order to receive it's effects as opposed to having be absorbed through the gums with traditional chewing tobacco. About a half an hour before "getting down to business" I chewed the snus. after removing and disposing of the condom I noticed that there were very slight traces of blood on it. She did not mention that she was on her period and consequently I don't think that she was. Given that sores in the mouth and blood increase the chance of infection how would you consider my experience in terms of risk. Would you advise testing on a medical level as opposed to a psychological level? If the risk is indeed extremely unlikely to impossible I would like to dismiss this without having to wait the three months to get tested. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I am going to make a donation to your foundation as well.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi.

Yep, I'd agree camel snus/chewing tobacco is indeed "a very nasty habit." It's also a very dangerous one, due to the increased risk of oropharyngeal cancer and other ailments associated with chewing tobacco and nicotine use/addiction. I would very strongly encourage you to quit this habit immediately.

Regarding cunnilingus, you are correct: It carries only a very slight risk for HIV acquisition. However, there can be extenuating circumstances, which could theoretically increase the HIV-transmission risk. It is impossible for me to quantify your risk, as there are many variables -- we don't know your gal-pal's HIV status; I don't have any way of assessing how much damage there may be to your gums; I also don't know how much blood you may have been exposed to.

The best I can do is advise there would be a theoretical, albeit small, risk of HIV transmission if your partner was positively charged and you had direct mucous membrane contact with fresh HIV-tainted blood, especially if the oral mucous membranes were inflamed or damaged by your nasty habit. A single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark would provide a definitive answer. The statistical odds are all in your favor.

Good luck. And spit that nasty dangerous stuff out of your life. (I'm talking about the chewing tobacco not oral sex! Chewing tobacco is much more of a risk to your health than oral sex!)

Dr. Bob



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