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Receiving oral sex
Nov 7, 1996

My partner is HIV+. I am a gay man. He was sucking me without condom and we were very horny. His teeth started to bleeding and I noticed some visible blood over my penis and upon the glandes. I went to the bathroom and I washed the penis. I am worried even if I'm living with risk everyday. It's hard to always to reduce the risk. What do you suggest me?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

Your situation is a rare one. People don't usually have visible blood in their mouths, so normally the risk is low. However, in your specific case, there was some risk associated with your exposure to his blood.

Normally when we're talking about the risks of receiving oral sex, the risks of HIV transmission are very low. This is because normally, when receiving oral sex, one is exposed only to saliva. Nobody to date has been infected with HIV through saliva. However your situation is a bit different. You told me you were exposed to "visible blood". Blood contains high concentrations of HIV, and can lead to transmission of the virus. If you had any type of cut, open sore or abrasion on your penis (even one that you might not be able to see), if the HIV found in the blood got into that opening, you may have been infected with the virus. Nobody can quantify your risk other than to say there was a risk of infection. You should seriously consider getting tested at 6 months after this encounter for the most accurate test result. There is no reason to panic......it's not a certainty that you became infected. But only testing will tell you whether you got HIV or not.

I fully realize that it's hard to always reduce/eliminate the risks of infection. In the future you may think about using a condom for protection, especially if his gums are prone to bleeding. Remember however that latex condoms can have a bad taste to them. You may want to consider either using flavored condoms or putting a non-oil based food item (like honey) on a latex condom, to cover over the bad latex taste. You may also want to consider using polyurethane (plastic) condoms, which don't have the bad latex taste associated with them. If at all possible, try to get an unlubricated condom, since lubricants are not meant to be ingested. Of course, you still have the option of not using a condom, but there will always be some risk associated with this, as you have seen firsthand.

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



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