Acid reflux and oral sex


Hi Dr. Bob, I've been reading your column for years now and have always found it extremely helpful and reassuring. I was wondering about the risk of HIV transmission for insertive oral sex on a man, with ejaculation. I do know that the risk is small, minus extenuating factors. that is the question in which you said that - just wanted you to know I pay attention! Anyhow, I have GERD and am on medication to treat it; however, a few days ago I performed oral sex on a new guy whose HIV status I do not know. I swallowed, and I hadn't been taking my medication for a week or so prior.
The day after I performed oral on him, I asked him via text message (inappropriate mode of communication, I know,) when the last time he got tested for HIV was and if we were to have sex if he would be willing to get tested with me first. Since then I've barely heard from him, and it seems he's freaked out that I asked him that, which in turn freaks me out! I feel like he should have answered my question, and he never did. I am sure you are really tired of people asking you to assess their risk, but I think my situation is a tad different since I have acid reflux. Of course, I have no way of knowing if and to what extent my throat is damaged. But if it isn't too much trouble, please let me know what you think. I'm extremely worried. Thank you so much. -S


Hello S,

I know you've been trying to get this question answered for quite some time. (Yes, I really do read every question that comes into my inbox, even though I can only respond personally to a small percentage of them.) Certainly if your acid reflux was severe enough to significantly damage the mucous membrane lining of your oral pharynx and if your new buddy was positively charged and if he had a high viral load, your risk of HIV acquisition from receptive oral sex would be increased. We have no way of quantifying all these variables. Consequently, the bottom line is the same for everyone who feels they may have placed themselves at risk for HIV: Get a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. It really is just that straightforward. Hope that helps.

Dr. Bob