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Oral transmission of HIV
Aug 18, 2000

Hi, I read about the recent study by the the University of California at San Francisco on that 8 men contracted HIV through unprotected oral sex. Does the study says that the oral sex involved is to the point of ejaculation? extended exposure? frequency of exposure?

I had on a few ocassions given unprotected oral sex, never extented, but very briefly (i.e. several seconds exposure). I did attempt to check for pre-ejaculation secretion each time but couldn't be absolutely sure. What's my risk?

Response from Mr. Kull

The study you are talking about is one of the most rigorous studies on oral sex to date. I do not have access to a published copy yet, so I've gathered information from other resources. I'll post more specific information when I have the study in my hands.

The study investigated a cohort of men who have sex with men with primary HIV infection to determine the rate of oral transmission. Based on the abstract, 8 of 122 men in the cohort were most likely to be infected with HIV through oral sex only (a rate of 6.6%). About half reported to have oral health problems (ulcers, gum disease, etc.). I do not know exactly how many let their partners ejaculate in their mouths, which I assume would make a difference. I also do not know the frequency or duration of exposures. All of these eight men believed that oral sex carried minimal to no risk.

This study does not mean that there is a 7% chance of infection through oral sex. This is just one cohort of men and it is not a truly random sample. Be careful of what you read in the media...they have put out a lot of misinformation on this. Oral sex is still a much lower risk for HIV infection than unprotected anal sex. That NEVER meant there was no risk associated with oral sex.

Don't let your partner come in your mouth. Don't give someone a blow job if you have any sores, bleeding gums, irritation, sore throat, or anything like that.

See the abstract from the study Primary HIV Infections Associated with Oral Transmission.

RMK



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