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HIV+ woman asks about oral sex

Sep 12, 1996

I'm a married HIV+ woman. One of my doctors has told me that for me to give my (HIV-) husband a blow job without a condom is not dangerous. Is this true? At the present we use condoms when I go down on him and a dental dam when he goes down on me. My mouth is very healthy (no cavities!) and without infections.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

If your husband is receiving oral sex from you, he is only being exposed to your saliva, and nobody has ever been infected from saliva. Nobody has ever been infected from kissing either! Keep in mind however that he can get other sexually transmitted diseases (like herpes) by receiving oral sex (assuming you have oral herpes, more commonly known as "cold sores"). But as far as HIV is concerned, receiving oral sex is extremely low risk.

Do keep in mind however that if your husband were to have HIV or other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) such as gonorrhea and syphilis, this could be transmitted to you, and clinically, this could be very harmful and serious to you. So if there's any chance that he has HIV or other STD's, it's still important that you use protection for giving him oral sex--not because of his risks, but because of yours.

If he is giving you oral sex, there is a risk of infection to him since your vaginal secretions and menstrual blood can get into his mouth. The more of these body fluids he's exposed to, the greater the risk of infection there would be. If he has any open sores, cuts, abrasions, or gum disease in his mouth, the virus can get into his 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, he could also be at risk for other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) including herpes and gonorrhea (assuming you have other STD's).

You had mentioned that you were using dental dams when he was giving you oral sex. Although this will protect him against HIV and other STD's, another alternative is to use saran/plastic wrap, which will also protect him. This is widely available, inexpensive, is clear, and has no taste to it. So you may want to try this if you wish.

If you have further questions, please e-mail me at "" or call me at 1-800-842-AIDS.

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