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Oral sex and use of mouthwash

Jun 28, 1996

Does rinsing with mouthwash kill any HIV that might be in your mouth from precum?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Mouthwash will not kill HIV that might be in your mouth from pre-cum or semen. Some mouthwashes don't kill any types of infections, including bacterial infections. Other mouthwashes will kill bacterial infections but not viruses (Listerine is a good example of this). But there are no mouthwashes that will kill HIV. However, if you rinse immediately with any mouthwash, although they won't kill HIV, they can help remove any pre-cum or semen that may be in your mouth, but their effectiveness would be limited. The best advice I could give you is not to let pre-cum or semen get into your mouth in the first place, thereby preventing exposure to HIV from occuring.

If you have further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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