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Giving oral sex to female
Apr 21, 1997

I have heard that the risk of contracting HIV by giving oral sex to a female is less than giving oral sex to a male. I would like to know how much less. I would also like to know if there is any way of reducing risks - for example, anything that would cause gum disease and other causes of bleeding in the mouth to heal. Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Generally speaking, giving oral sex to a woman is somewhat lower risk than giving oral sex to a man. But this does not mean that giving a woman oral sex is low risk. Generally speaking, when giving a woman oral sex, you may be exposed to a lower quantity of infectious body fluids as compared to giving a man oral sex (especially if ejaculation is involved). One cannot quantitate how much less the risk is, since the risk is variable. When giving oral sex to either a man or a woman, the more infectious body fluids you are exposed to, and the more cuts or abrasions in the mouth, the greater the risk would be.

In terms of reducing your risks when giving oral sex to a woman or a man, you have several ways of doing this.

WHEN GIVING ORAL SEX TO EITHER MEN OR WOMEN:

1) To reduce the chance of gum disease in your mouth (or to treat gum disease), see your dentist. And always brush and floss your teeth.

2) To reduce the chance of getting other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) when giving oral sex, "look before you lick". If you see any type of lesions, growths or discharge on your partner, that's natures way of telling you to hold off. These symptoms can be due to numerous STD's, and physical contact with them can lead to infection. A person can have a disease and have no symptoms at all, but if you see something that doesn't belong there, don't touch it!

3) If you don't want to use barrier protection (see below), at the very least, don't let the persons body fluids get into your mouth. The less you allow pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions or menstrual blood to get into your mouth, the less the chance of infection. Of course having oral sex without protection will still have some element of risk, but looking before you lick, and not letting your partners body fluids get into your mouth, will significantly reduce your risk. In addition to these:

WHEN GIVING A WOMAN ORAL SEX:

1) You can use saran/plastic wrap as a barrier against infection with HIV or other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's).

2) You can use the Female condom as a barrier against infection.

WHEN GIVING A MAN ORAL SEX:

1) Use latex condoms. Always use unlubricated condoms for oral sex. Lubricants were never made to be ingested. There are flavored condoms on the market which don't taste so bad. "Kiss Of Mint" is probably the best example. But what if you can't find Kiss of Mint? What if you hate the taste of mint? Well, all you have to do is use any food item that isn't oil based, and put it on a latex condom. You can use honey, jam.......hey someone I know even used beer! You can use any food item that will cover the taste of latex, as long as it isn't oil based. Using food for sex can also eroticise things with your partner.

2) You can also use plastic condoms. These condoms, sold under the brand name "Avanti" are made out of a type of plastic called polyurethane. HIV and other STD's will not pass through polyurethane. Since they're not made out of latex, they don't have that awful latex taste. Studies are still being done to see how well they protect against HIV and other STD's in actual use. Unfortunately, these may not be presently available in an unlubricated form.

For more information about oral sex, please see the question, "Oral Sex" .

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



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