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oral sex and gum diseases
Feb 11, 1997

if a girl had gum diseases or bleeding gums, and i received oral sex from her, what are the chances of me getting hiv, and is this worth getting tested. is it true that the saliva may keep me from getting infected, and is it also true the concentration of the disease in the blood from the mouth maybe to small to infect me. is there any record of someone getting hiv from receiving oral sex with a girl that had a gums problem

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

If you are RECEIVING oral sex from someone else, you are only being exposed to saliva. The concentrations of the virus in saliva are so low, that nobody has ever been infected from saliva. Keep in mind however that you can get other sexually transmitted diseases (like herpes) by receiving oral sex. However, as far as HIV is concerned, receiving oral sex is extremely low risk.

If the person giving you oral sex were to have VISIBLE blood in their mouth, then you would be at risk from receiving oral sex, since you would be exposed to blood, not just saliva. In this case, it may be a good idea to consider getting tested for HIV. However, realistically, it is unusual for a person to be actively bleeding, while giving you oral sex. Blood is not usually found in the mouth, so normally this is a very low risk activity as far as HIV is concerned. But if there is VISIBLE blood present, then there would be a risk of infection.

Saliva has never been proven to protect you from becoming infected, although one research study suggested that saliva may have some type of protective factor in it. However, that study has never been verified. We do know that the concentrations of HIV in saliva are so low, that HIV has never been transmitted through saliva alone.

If you are GIVING someone oral sex, there is a risk of infection since pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, and menstrual blood can get into your mouth. The more of these body fluids you are exposed to, the greater the risk of infection there would be. If you have any open sores, cuts, abrasions, or gum disease in the mouth, the virus can get into your bloodstream. The risk is less than vaginal or anal intercourse, but the risk is real, and transmission can occur. There have already been reported cases of HIV infection specifically through giving oral sex. In addition to HIV, while giving oral sex, you could also be at risk for other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) including herpes and gonorrhea.

Let me review with you how HIV is transmitted:

Blood, pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, and breastmilk all contain high concentrations of HIV, and all have been linked to transmission of the virus.

Saliva, tears, sweat, and urine can have the virus in them, but in such small concentrations that nobody has ever been infected through them. However, if any body fluid is visibly contaminated with blood, the risk of transmission exists.

The HIV virus must get into the bloodstream in order to infect you. If it doesn't get into the bloodstream, you will not get the infection. Blood, pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, or breastmilk must have direct access to your bloodstream in order to infect you. Activities where this can happen include vaginal intercourse (both partners), anal intercourse (both partners), giving oral sex, sharing needles (IV, tattoo etc.), and rarely through receiving a blood transfusion. HIV can also be transmitted from mother to child. HIV is NOT transmitted through any form of casual contact.

In summary, in order for infection to occur, 3 things must happen:

You must be exposed to pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, blood, or breastmilk.

The virus must get directly into your bloodstream through some fresh cut, open sore, abrasion etc.

Transmission must go directly from 1 person to the other very quickly.....the virus does not survive more than a few minutes outside the body.

No matter what the circumstances are, if you think about these 3 criteria for transmission, you'll be able to determine whether you're at risk for HIV or not. But do remember that other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can be transmitted easier than HIV, so what might be low risk for HIV may be high risk for other STD's.

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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