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Fingering and then licking...am I at Risk?
Nov 5, 1996

This past week, I was involved in an intimate situation in which I was 'fingering' a woman I was with. I had no open cuts on my finger, and the action only lasted 30 seconds.....but then I made the foolish mistake of licking my finger, once. It wasn't very moist and I don't have any open cuts or sores in my mouth. What is my probability of contracting the AIDS virus if indeed she was infected? Thank you for your help,

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. Fingering is considered safer sex as far as HIV is concerned. This is because it is unlikely that HIV would enter the bloodstream while engaging in this activity. A person must have a FRESH open cut on the finger in order for HIV to have an access to the bloodstream. If there were no cuts, there would not be any risk. If a person has an old cut, this is no longer considered an open cut, as it would now be healing over. So although I can't say fingering is zero risk, I can say that the risk is low, and it is unlikely that a person would get infected with the HIV virus.

If her vaginal secretions got into your mouth, then there would technically be a risk of infection. The more vaginal secretions that got into your mouth, the greater the risk would be. Or conversly, the less vaginal secretions that got into your mouth, the less the risk would be. You would also have to have a cut, open sore, or gum disease in your mouth for the virus to enter your bloodstream. It's impossible to quantify your risks other than to say the fingering part was low risk, and the chances of you becoming infected through licking your fingers afterwards are possible, but considered unlikely overall.

However, if you want to get tested for peace of mind, you should remember to wait 6 months after your last possible exposure to the virus in order to get the most accurate test.

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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