How To Protect Yourself
Since there is still a chance that you could get infected with HIV through oral sex, you should always take precautions. Here is what you can do to lower your risk:
Do not let a male partner ejaculate in your mouth. You can do this if you remove your mouth from their penis before they ejaculate, or if you use a condom.
Use a condom or dental dam. A dental dam is a thin square piece of latex or silicone that you place over the vagina or anal area during oral sex. You can also cut a latex condom lengthwise and use it the same way.
Both of these barriers also lower the risk of infection from other STDs such as gonorrhea of the throat or hepatitis. Use a new one every time you have oral sex. Check the expiration date on the package, and make sure there are no tears or defects.
Don’t use oil-based products like baby oil, lotion, petroleum jelly, or cooking oil on condoms or dental dams because that can cause them to break. If you need lubrication, use a water-based or silicone-based product instead. Always use a condom or dental dam during your period since the virus can be present in menstrual blood.
Don’t brush your teeth just before oral sex. If you do, your mouth or gums may bleed, which raises chances of infection.
Skip oral sex during risky times. This includes a time when you have sores around your mouth, genitals, or anus , gum damage, a throat infection, or after dental work.
Am I At Risk Of Becoming Infected With Hiv When Visiting The Doctor Or Dentist
Transmission of HIV in a health care setting is extremely rare. All health professionals are required to follow infection control procedures when caring for any patient. These procedures are called Universal Precautions for infection control. They are designed to protect both patients and health care professionals from the transmission of blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
Do Mosquitoes Pose Any Other Threats
Mosquito-borne diseases are the most common and dangerous threat from mosquitoes. But in rare cases, mosquito bites can also cause severe allergic reactions.
The itchiness you feel after a mosquito bite is a type of mild allergic reaction. But some people can have a stronger reaction, including hives or lesions around the bite.
If you have trouble breathing or swelling in your face or throat after being bitten by a mosquito, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. These are symptoms of a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
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Body Fluids That Transmit Hiv
What body fluids transmit HIV?
Only certain body fluids from a person who has HIV can transmit HIV. These fluids include
- vaginal fluids, and
- breast milk.
These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, penis, and mouth.
A Member Of My Family Or Close Friend Of Mine Has Hiv Am I Also At Risk
Although HIV has been transmitted between family members in a household setting, this type of transmission is extremely rare. These transmissions are believed to have resulted from contact between mucous membranes and infected blood. To prevent even such rare occurrences, precautions should be taken in all settings including the home to prevent exposure to the blood of persons who are HIV infected, at risk for HIV infection, or whose infection and risk status are unknown.
For example, gloves should be worn during contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, faeces, or vomit.
Cuts, sores, or breaks on both the caregivers’ and patients exposed skin should be covered with bandages. Hands and other parts of the body should be washed immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids.
Surfaces soiled with blood should be disinfected appropriately. Practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing of razors and toothbrushes, should be avoided.
Needles and other sharp instruments should be used only when necessary and handled according to recommendations for health care settings. .
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Infectious Diseases In Saliva
Infectious diseases can be spread through several routes of transmission. Oral transmission refers to the spreading of microbes through saliva or shared foods and drinks.
When a person accidentally consumes microbe-contaminated items, such as saliva during kissing, the swallowing action of the tongue wipes the microbes against the back of the throat, allowing the microbe to enter the body.
Infections, such as mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus , and cytomegalovirus , are examples of infections spread via oral transmission from virus-containing saliva.
Other infectious microbes that spread through saliva do so by sticking to the inner surface of the cheeks and mouth, the tongue, or teeth. An example is the bacterium Streptococcus, which can cause an array of infections, including gum disease and strep throat.
The surfaces of the respiratory tract are continuous and made up of similar tissues. Microbes that are found in the saliva can generally be found in other parts of the respiratory tract, including the nose and throat. Therefore, even colds and flu can be spread through the saliva.
Hiv And Maternal Transmission
HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or through breastfeeding. If left untreated throughout these stages, there is a 15-45% chance of an HIV positive mother transmitting the virus to their child . However there are treatment options to prevent this from happening.
If pregnancy occurs and there has been potential HIV exposure, ask a healthcare provider about getting tested for HIV as early as possible. Taking medications called antiretroviral therapy as prescribed can reduce the viral load so that the baby has a very low chance of contracting HIV .
A person with HIV should not breastfeed their child, as breast milk can transmit HIV. Even if a person is taking ART and their viral loads are undetectable, they should still not breastfeed.
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Whats The Risk For Types Of Oral Sex
Oral sex ranks very low on the list of ways HIV can be transmitted. Its more likely to transmit HIV through anal or vaginal sex. Its also possible to transmit the virus by sharing needles or syringes used for injecting drugs or tattooing.
However, the risk of contracting HIV through oral sex is not zero. The truth is, you can in theory still contract HIV this way. Theres just been from years of research to show that it has happened.
Why is it hard to get data?
Its difficult to know the absolute risk of transmitting HIV during oral sex acts. Thats because many sex partners who engage in oral sex of any type also engage in vaginal or anal sex. It may be difficult to know where the transmission occurred.
Fellatio carries some risk, but its low.
- If youre giving a blowjob. Receptive oral sex with a male partner who has HIV is considered exceptionally low-risk. In fact, a 2002 study found that the risk for HIV transmission through receptive oral sex was statistically zero.
- If youre receiving a blowjob. Insertive oral sex is an unlikely method of transmission, too. Enzymes in the saliva neutralize many viral particles. This may be true even if the saliva contains blood.
There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted between partners through cunnilingus .
Anilingus , or rimming, has some risk, but it is negligible. Its especially low for receptive partners. In fact, the lifetime risk of transmitting HIV during rimming is
Hsv1 And Oral Transmission
The other commonly transmitted strain of the herpes simplex virus, HSV1, typically results in oral herpes, or cold sores around the mouth. This form of HSV is more readily transmitted via oral contact, such as kissing, than through genital contact.
HSV1 can be transmitted through both giving and receiving oral sex. It can cause both mouth and genital sores. You can also get HSV1 through vaginal and anal intercourse, and through the use of sex toys.
Unlike HSV2, which usually lies dormant between outbreaks at the base of the spine, HSV1s latency periods are typically spent in nerve endings near the ear. Thats why its more likely to cause oral herpes than genital herpes.
HSV1 and HSV2 are genetically similar to each other and clinical symptoms are indistinguishable.
For this reason, having one form of the virus sometimes reduces the risk of acquiring the other form. This is because your body actively produces antibodies to fight the virus once you have it. However, its possible to contract both forms.
HSV1 and HSV2 can both have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that you might not notice. Not having symptoms doesnt mean you dont have the virus.
If you do have symptoms of HSV1 or HSV2, they may include:
- a tingling sensation, itching, or pain, anywhere in the genital area or around the mouth
- one or more small, white blisters that may become oozy or bloody
- one or more small, red bumps or irritated-looking skin
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Ways Hiv Is Not Transmitted
How well does HIV survive outside the body?
HIV does not survive long outside the human body , and it cannot reproduce outside a human host. It is not transmitted
- Through saliva, tears, or sweat.
- Through other sexual activities that dont involve the exchange of body fluids .
- Through the air.
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Can I Get Hiv From A Mosquito
No, it is not possible to get HIV from mosquitoes or other biting and bloodsucking insects. The results of experiments and observations of insect biting behavior indicate that when an insect bites a person, it does not inject its own or a previously bitten person’s or animal’s blood into the next person bitten. Rather, it injects saliva, which acts as a lubricant so the insect can feed efficiently.
Diseases, such as yellow fever and malaria are transmitted through the saliva of specific species of mosquitoes. However, HIV lives for only a short time inside an insect. Unlike organisms that are transmitted via insect bites, HIV does not reproduce in insects. Thus, even if the virus enters a mosquito or another insect, the insect does not become infected and cannot transmit HIV to the next human it bites.
There are several reasons why a mosquito or other insect cannot transmit HIV from one person to another even if there is HIV-infected blood left on its mouth parts: 1) Infected people do not have constantly high levels of HIV in their blood streams. 2) Insect mouth parts retain no blood on their surfaces. 3) Finally, scientists who study insects have determined that biting insects normally do not travel from one person to the next immediately after ingesting blood. Rather, they fly to a resting place to digest the blood meal. Epidemiological studies have shown no relationship at all between HIV and the existence of mosquitos or mosquito bites.
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Estimating Risk By Exposure Type
The likelihood of transmitting HIV through oral sex depends largely on the type of contact involved. Putting aside all other risk factors, the potential for infection can vary based on whether the non-infected person is either performing or receiving oral sex.
Broadly speaking, the risk of HIV from oral sex can run anywhere from 0% to 1%, according to research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
However, numbers can change once you factor in specific sexual behaviors. Among them:
- Receptive fellatio, meaning that the non-infected person is performing oral sex on a male partner with HIV, is considered exceptionally low risk. Among men who have sex with men , the per-act risk hovers at around 0.04 percent.
- Insertive fellatio is even less likely given that the enzymes in saliva can neutralize the HIV viral particles.
- Cunnilingus has also proven to be a highly unlikely route.
- Anilingus is also regarded as being of negligible risk, particularly for the receptive partner.
While these figures suggest that the risk of HIV is low from a population perspective, that shouldn’t imply that it is inherently low from an individual perspective. Clearly, the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of transmission will be.
Reducing The Risk From Oral Sex
The risk from unprotected oral sex with someone with a detectable viral load increases if you have:
- a throat infection
- damage to the lining of the mouth or throat
- had recent dental work or your gums bleed a lot.
Avoid performing oral sex without protection on someone with a detectable viral load while you have any of the above.
Dont floss or brush teeth before oral sex . Regular check-ups for STIs will pick up infections in your throat.
Remember that other STIs can also be passed on through oral sex, including herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.
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When Is The Risk Greater
These risk factors can increase the chances for transmission of HIV:
- Status: Risk varies based on whether the person with HIV is giving or receiving oral sex. If the person with HIV is receiving oral sex, the person giving it may have a higher risk. Mouths may have more openings in the skin or lesions. Saliva, on the other hand, is not a carrier of the virus.
- Viral load: The risk of contracting HIV is higher if the person with HIV has a high viral load. Higher viral loads increase infectivity.
- Ejaculation: During oral sex, ejaculation may increase risk for sharing the virus, but ejaculation alone isnt the only possible way of contracting HIV.
- Cuts or sores: Openings in the mouth, vagina, anus, or on the penis are possible routes for HIV. These may be cuts or lesions from another infection or condition. For example, HIV-related infections like candidiasis can cause sores that compromise the integrity of the tissue in the mouth. Any break in the skin puts a person at risk for transmitting or contracting the virus.
- Menstruation: HIV-bearing cells do shed from the cervix during menstruation. Coming into contact with menstrual blood with the mouth may increase contraction risk.
- Urethritis: This condition causes inflammation and irritation in the urethra. It may increase the chances of HIV contraction, too. People with HIV are likely to shed the virus when they have this condition.
Is Deep Kissing A Route Of Hiv Transmission
Deep or open-mouthed kissing is a very low risk activity in terms of HIV transmission. HIV is only present in saliva in very minute amounts, insufficient to cause infection with HIV. There has been only one documented case of someone becoming infected with HIV through kissing a result of exposure to infected blood during open-mouthed kissing. If you or your partner have blood in your mouth, you should avoid kissing until the bleeding stops.
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Sex Toys Fingering Fisting And Hiv
Sex toys, such as dildos, come into direct contact with rectal/vaginal fluids and mucous membranes. This means sharing an uncleaned dildo or other toy can pass on HIV. Using sex toys on your own has no risk.
There is no direct risk of HIV from fingering or fisting , but be aware of being rough. Damage to anal/vaginal tissues, especially if there is any bleeding, will increase risk of HIV transmission if you then have anal, vaginal or oral sex later.
Can I Become Infected With Hiv If I Inject Drugs And Share The Needles With Someone Else Without Sterilizing The Needles
We strongly recommend that you use new equipment every time you inject. You can get new equipment from Counterpoint Needle & Syringe Program at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection.
There is a possibility of becoming infected with HIV if you share injecting equipment with someone who has the virus. If HIV infected blood remains inside the needle or in the syringe and someone else then uses it to inject themselves, that blood can be flushed into the bloodstream. Sharing needles, syringes, spoons, filters or water can pass on the virus. Disinfecting equipment between uses can reduce the likelihood of transmission, but does not eliminate it.
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How Long Can Hiv Survive Outside The Human Body
Generally the fragile nature of the virus prevents it from surviving for a substantial amount of time in the open air. The length of time HIV can survive outside the body is dependent on the amount of HIV present in the body fluid and the conditions the fluid is subjected to.
Note that HIV is fragile and many common substances such as hot liquid, soap, bleach, alcohol, and the gastric juices found within your stomach can destroy the virus.
Your skin is a 100% proof barrier against HIV. The virus cannot enter your skin unless there is an open bleeding wound. If you get blood on your skin, simply wash with water and soap. There is no need to scrub because this might damage the skin.
It is good practice to be careful with any blood spill, because one can never tell if the person it came from has HIV or other blood borne infections. You can safely clean such blood spills with water and Clorox.