Challenges In Calculating A Number
It isnt easy for researchers to calculate the risk of transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. To do this effectively, a group of HIV-negative individuals need to be followed over time and their exposures to HIVboth the number of times they are exposed and the types of exposureneed to be tracked.;
As you can imagine, accurately tracking the number of times a person is exposed to HIV is very difficult. Researchers ask HIV-negative individuals enrolled in these studies to report how many times they have had sex in a given period of time, what type of sex they had, how often they used condoms and the HIV status of their partner. Because a person may have trouble remembering their sexual behaviour or may not want to tell the whole truth, this reporting is often inaccurate.
Furthermore, a person does not always know the HIV status of their partner. For this reason, researchers usually enroll HIV-negative individuals who are in stable relationships with an HIV-positive partner . Researchers can then conclude that any unprotected sex reported by a study participant counts as an exposure to HIV.
Can You Catch Hiv From Oral Sex
HIV is mainly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse.; So use condoms. The risk of catching HIV from giving or receiving oral sex is very small, but isn’t zero. Let’s go through the facts:
If you’re a man receiving oral sex from someone with HIV, there is a tiny risk of catching it if you have a cut on your genital area, or if the person giving you oral sex has a cut in their mouth. So it’s pretty unlikely really.
If you’re giving oral sex to a man who is HIV positive, don’t let him ejaculate in your mouth: almost all cases of someone catching HIV from giving a blow job to a man with HIV have been when the man has ejaculated in the person’s mouth.
If you’re a woman receiving oral sex from someone who is HIV positive, there is only a tiny risk of catching it from them: mainly if they have cuts or abrasions on their mouth and you too have cuts or abrasions on your vaginal area. So it’s pretty unlikely.
If you’re giving oral sex to an HIV positive woman, the risks are again very small unless she is on her period. Then sometimes the blood from her period will contain the HIV virus and you could catch it if you have cuts or abrasions in your mouth.
Bear in mind that if the HIV positive person is on effective treatment and has what’s called an ‘undetectable viral load’ then a recent study has shown that the risk of catching HIV from them is practically zero.
How Could Hiv Infect The Mouth And Throat
HIV is not able to infect most cells in the mouth. Only one cell type found in the mouth is vulnerable to HIV infection .
The tissue of the mouth and oesophagus is also very thick compared with genital tissues, and fluids stay in contact with it for a very short time because swallowing clears the mouth regularly. The mouth is therefore generally regarded as an unlikely route of HIV transmission.
Saliva contains numerous factors that have been found to inhibit HIV and stomach acid is likely to inactivate HIV in the same way as other viruses .
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What About Other Stis
So HIV isn’t a high risk when you’re giving/getting head, but that doesn’t mean you’re protected from any other STIs.
You can get;syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia;from blowjobs, as well as other types of inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth. So while you’re relatively safe from HIV, if you’re having oral sex with multiple partners you should be;getting tested;for STIs;at least once every three months.
Ways Hiv Can Be Transmitted
How is HIV passed from one person to another?
;Most people who get HIV get it through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . But there are powerful tools that can help prevent HIV;transmission.
Can I get HIV from anal sex?
You can get HIV if you have anal sex;with someone who has HIV without using protection .
- Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.
- Being the receptive partner is riskier for getting HIV than being the insertive partner .
- The bottoms risk of getting HIV is very high because the rectums lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
- The top is also at risk because HIV can enter the body through the opening at the tip of the penis , the foreskin if; the penis isnt circumcised, or small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis.
Can I get HIV from vaginal sex?
You can get HIV if you have vaginal sex;with someone who has HIV without using protection .
Can HIV be transmitted from a mother to her baby?
HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, it is less common because of advances in HIV prevention and treatment.
Can I get HIV from sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment?
You are at high risk for getting HIV if you ; with someone who has HIV. Never share needles or other equipment to inject drugs, hormones, steroids, or silicone.
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Hiv Treatment & Undetectable
Todays HIV treatments, called antiretroviral therapy or ART, are extremely effective. Some treatments are a single tablet. Long-acting injectable medications are likely to be approved and available soon. Medicine has come a long way since the first HIV treatment options became available in the 1990s.
There is still no functional cure for HIV, but ART can help people live long, healthy lives.;Todays medications are provided in combinations that reduce a persons viral load to levels so low its undetectable. People who become undetectable cannot transmit the virus to others.
Viral load is a term that describes how much virus a person living with HIV has in their body.
Without HIV medications, the virus replicates which causes the amount of virus in the body to increase.
HIV medications prevent HIV from making copies of itself. Then, the amount of HIV in the body goes down.
To see how well HIV treatments are working, doctors and other providers measure the amount of virus in the blood and report a measurement called your viral load. Its simply a measurement of how many copies of the virus are in a single unit of blood.
A very low amount of virus may even be undetectable by viral load tests . A common undetectable level is <20 copies per milliliter of blood. Low viral loads are those that are less than 200 copies per milliliter. Very high viral loads can be over 500,000 copies per milliliter.
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.
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How You Become Infected
There is HIV virus in body fluids like vaginal secretions and semen. If those fluids are present, they can enter the bloodstream of someone who doesn’t have HIV through an opening such as a mouth sore or a genital ulcer.
Your chances are higher of getting HIV if you:
Theoretic Vs Documented Risk
Whenever discussing HIV risk, it is important to differentiate between a theoretic and documented risk. A documented risk is based on the actual number of cases to which HIV can be directly attributed to an act of oral sex. And, when looking through that lens, the risk of infection by oral sex is actually extremely low. Not zero, perhaps, but edging close to it.
In fact, according to a study from the University of California San Francisco’s Centers for AIDS Prevention Studies, the probability of HIV infection through unprotected oral sex was statistically zero, although the researchers went so far as to add that “we can not rule out the possibility that the probability of infection is indeed greater than zero.”
For an individual perspective, there are numerous factors and situations that can increase personal risk, sometimes considerably. By understanding and identifying these factors, you can make better, more informed choices about the sexual health of you and your partner.
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The Mouth Cancer Link
Actor Michael Douglas, perhaps best known for his outstanding performance in the 1985 adventure The Jewel of the Nile, drew attention a few years ago: he was diagnosed with cancer at the back of his mouth . He made headlines when he suggested the cancer had been caused by giving oral sex to his famous and no less talented wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Was did he mean? He was referring to a virus called human papillomavirus which scientists have discovered can actually cause some kind of cancers: cervical cancer,penile cancer and oropharyngeal cancer. The theory is that he may have caught the virus from the genital area of a woman, which led to him developing cancer of the throat.
Nowadays, in the western world, teenage girls are offered a vaccination against the HPV virus which has cut the number of people who are developing those cancers.
In fact Michael Douglas later changed his story, confirming that he did in fact have tongue cancer ! The good news is he’s made a full recovery. But it’s important to know the main causes of throat cancer and tongue cancer are smoking and drinking too much alcohol .
More On Oral Sex At Thebodycom
To find out more about the risk from oral sex, we recommend the following articles:
- You note that the transmission risk of receptive oral sex is 1 per 10000 exposures. Does that risk increase if ejaculate is swallowed?
- Can I get HIV from pre-cum?About 2 months back I had unprotected oral sex with a man, but I didn’t swallow when he ejaculated. Naturally however, there was pre-cum and I’m very scared that I might have HIV.
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Giving And Receiving Oral Sex
Though semen and pre-cum are not the only routes for contracting HIV, they are two avenues. Ejaculating during oral sex increases the risk. If you or your partner feels ready to ejaculate, you can remove your mouth to avoid exposure.
Barrier methods like latex or polyurethane condoms and dental dams can be used during every oral sex act. Change condoms or dental dams if you move from the vagina or penis to the anus, or vice versa.
Also use lubricants to prevent friction and tearing. Any holes in the barrier methods can increase exposure risk.
Abstain from oral sex if you have any cuts, abrasions, or sores in your mouth. Any opening in the skin is an avenue for possible viral exposure.
Be careful not to cut or tear your partners skin with your teeth during oral sex. This opening can expose you to blood.
If I Get Infected Fluid From An Hiv
No, HIV is not always passed on from someone living with HIV. There are lots of reasons why this is the case. For example, if the HIV-positive person is on effective treatment it will reduce the amount of HIV in their body. If a doctor confirms that the virus has reached undetectable levels it means there is no risk of passing it on.
If youre concerned that youve been exposed to HIV you may be eligible to take post-exposure prophylaxis , which stops the virus from becoming an infection. However its not available everywhere and has to be taken within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.
Its really important to;take a HIV test;every time;you think you have been at risk of HIV.
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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.
Can I Transmit Hiv To My Baby During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding
An HIV-infected pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her unborn baby either before or during birth. HIV can also be passed on during breastfeeding. If a woman knows that she is infected with HIV, there are drugs she can take to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected. Other ways to lower the risk include choosing to have a caesarean section delivery and not breastfeeding.
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How Do You Get Or Transmit Hiv
You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:
- Semen and pre-seminal fluid
- Rectal fluids
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane ; open cuts or sores; or by direct injection.
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
Does It Matter If I Get Pre
HIV can be acquired through both cum and precum, though if you have healthy teeth and gums its not a problem getting it in your mouth. HIV needs an entry point to be transmitted, so you may want to avoid getting these fluids in your mouth if you have bad gingivitis, an STI in the throat or other sores in the mouth. Its recommended to wait at least half an hour after brushing or flossing your teeth as well, to keep that risk low.
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Putting A Number On It: The Risk From An Exposure To Hiv
This information was provided by CATIE . For more information, contact CATIE at 1-800-263-1638.
Service providers working in HIV prevention are often asked by their patients and clients about the risk of HIV transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. What do the latest studies tell us about this risk? And how should we interpret and communicate the results?
Hiv Transmission From Cunnilingus Or From Receiving Oral Sex
Dear All knowing Alice,
Both you and the Columbia AIDS manual note that the risk of AIDS transmission by unprotected cunnilingus is less than via unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse. What I’d like to know is, how much less? Are there any statistics? Are there any documented cases of AIDS being spread this way? If so, how often does it seem to occur? It’s difficult to know whether it makes sense to take my chances unless I know what the chances are.
Also, both you and the manual say transmission can’t occur without contact with a mucous membrane. I have another AIDS brochure that says there’s at least a small chance the virus could pass through tears around the cuticles of the hand. Is this the case, and if so, how great a risk is there in putting your fingers in somebody’s vagina or anus for extended periods?
What are the risks of HIV infection for the passive partner of oral sex?
Signed,Happy but Worried
Dear Needs the details and Happy but Worried,
For a cunnilingus recipient, the chance of HIV transmission is also low, although the entire vagina is a mucous membrane through which, theoretically, the virus could be transmitted. A woman receiving cunnilingus is more at risk of getting herpes or gonorrhea from her partner than of contracting HIV. Also, a person giving oral sex to a woman may want to avoid doing so during her period, as menstrual blood can carry enough HIV to spread an infection.
Have fun while you’re staying safe!
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