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Bleeding Gums....

Jul 31, 2001

What do experts mean by bleeding gums in reference to transmitting HIV or being infected with HIV? DO bleeding gums mean excessive or just slight everyday bleeding caused by brushing? In other words does slight bleeding open one up to a serious risk for infection if they are performing oral sex?

Response from Mr. Kull

The HIV prevention literature does not elaborate on your "bleeding gums" inquiry. For starters, it would be difficult to quantify the difference between "everyday" and "excessive" bleeding from a person's gums. How would someone measure that in their day-to-day experience? It may be safe to assume that one would know if they came into contact with someone who was excessively bleeding from their mouth.

People who perform unprotected oral sex with people of unknown, high-risk, or positive HIV status should avoid this activity if there are any oral health concerns. This would include bleeding gums from brushing or gum disease, oral sores or ulcers, recent dental work, or an irritated or sore throat. Regardless of the amount of blood, it would be best to avoid getting fluids in your mouth.

If you have any infections, including HIV, that are spread by contact with blood, it would also be advisable that you limit your partners' contact with that blood (regardless of the amount). Some of those activities might include deep kissing and performing oral sex.


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