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Hiv & cumulative risk
Jul 19, 2000

Hi doctor Kull,

Glad to see someone has taken over at 'the body'.

I used this forum about 2 years ago when Rick Sowadsky was here. (What actually happened to Rick anyway?)

My question is the following.

It is said on various parts of this website that oral sex is 'extremely low risk'.

I have only ever had received protected oral sex (hetero- I am male)from female prostitutes.

Is there any reason to test if one does this often?

Does the probability of becoming infected go up if you do this kind of thing frequently or is this the gamblers fallacy in disguise?

I am deeply concerned about this and would like to know what you think here.

Thanking you very much in advance.

Response from Mr. Kull

Read Rick’s response to Are there any reported cases of getting HIV through receiving oral sex?. You’ll find that HIV is not transmitted by receiving oral sex. Your risk is especially low because you are using condoms.

Probability is a concept used in scientific studies. The more sex partners you have, the greater the odds are of coming into contact with someone who is HIV-positive. If you are using condoms every time and correctly and if it’s only for oral sex, you are not at risk for infection. If you were having vaginal or anal sex, the odds change because there is a greater risk for condom failure every time you have sex. Measure your risk by looking at the facts. Try not to confuse yourself with abstract scientific concepts.

Questions like yours are common. Some people feel guilty about having sex with prostitutes. For some people, it is their only sexual outlet. For others, it can be secretive and shameful. Sometimes shame or guilt takes shape as HIV anxiety. If this sounds familiar, finding others to talk to about your experience can help.

I do not see a need for you to be HIV tested in these circumstances. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

RMK



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