Lesbians, Vaginal Secretions and HIV Risk


Greetings Dr. Bob,

I have yet to come across a post made by a lesbian to this board, so here's my contribution. On December 27, 2002, I had contact with a woman (ok, a stripper!) of unknown HIV status. While I did use my finger to explore her clitorial region, I did not penetrate her vagina. There was a small amount of vaginal fluid on my index finger, which I then wiped on her nipple and licked off. We also french kissed a couple of times.

Being something of a closet hypochrondriac, I decided to be tested for HIV, which I did at 77 days (11 weeks) post-exposure. My test was negative, but here's my question: Assuming this woman is HIV positive, what are the chances that I could have tested negative one week short of the definitive 84-day timeframe? The counselor told me that given my low-risk exposure, I didn't need to retest at 6 months.

What is your opinion on this? And I might add, that it's nice to have an intelligent, witty and compassionate physician such as yourself in the "family."

We dykes seem to be missing on the radar screen in the HIV risk discussions. How difficult is it, theoretically speaking, for a HIV+ lesbian to transmit the virus to a negative lesbian performing oral sex on her?

Thanks for yout time, and stay well, Dr. Bob.

Lezzie in Cali


Hi Lezzie,

Yeah, where are all the women? My girlfriends read the site, but I hardly ever get any questions. Maybe your question will spark some interest; although, the answer is really rather straightforward. Your risk of HIV transmission from the finger play, and a vaginal fluid coated nipple nosh, is essentially nonexistent. Even a "closet hypochondriac" can't contract HIV this way. Your 77-day test confirms this. You're negative, and no further testing is warranted.

As for your other question oral sex on an HIV-positive woman this, of course, would be the same for both men and women. (My girlfriends, however, tell me they know how to do it much better than men.) The risk would be extremely low. Certainly, there could be extenuating circumstances cuts in the mouth coming into contact with menstrual blood, etc. But overall, the risk remains very low. If someone is concerned about a possible exposure, a test in 3 months is now considered to be definitive.

Stay well. Thanks for writing.

Dr. Bob