How To Reduce The Risk
Although the risk of HIV passing to another person through oral sex is low, people can take steps to reduce it further.
For example, people with HIV can avoid ejaculating in the mouth of their sexual partner. They can do this by using a condom or withdrawing the penis before ejaculation.
A dental dam is another option. This is a small latex or silicone sheet that a person places over the vagina, anus, or mouth during sex.
Flossing or brushing the teeth can cause the gums to bleed, so it might also help to avoid this right before sexual activity.
People without HIV can take additional steps to avoid transmission, including:
- taking pre-exposure prophylaxis medication beforehand
- using condoms or dental dams correctly during all sexual activities
- avoiding lubricants with an oil base, such as Vaseline or baby oil
- taking post-exposure prophylaxis within a couple of days after the sexual contact
- getting regular sexual health checkups
People with HIV should take antiretroviral medication exactly as their doctor recommends.
In the early stages of HIV, people might experience:
- a fever
- rashes that are not itchy
- aching muscles
- swollen glands, or lymph nodes
- oral sores
Who Is At Higher Risk Of Having Chlamydia Infection In General
It is important to know the general statistics on chlamydia prevalence based on age, gender, sexual orientation, and region to know the likelihood of getting it. The higher the chance of having chlamydia in general the higher the chance of passing and getting it orally.
This list tells us the highest chance of chlamydia in different categories of people:
- Young people have highest prevalence of chlamydia compare to other age groups
- Females has a higher chance of having chlamydia than male 1.75 times higher chance than in male
- MSM- male having sex with male-have highest prevalence based on sexual orientation
- People with multiple partners
- Practicing unsafe sex increase the chances getting chlamydia
- Highest rate among ethnic minorities with highest among African American
- Highest chance of chlamydia in the South
Oral Or Throat Gonorrhea Infection Is The Possible Source Of Genital Gonorrhea Infection
One study has shown that if a person only receives oral penile sex without having any other sex types , the chance of being diagnosed with oral gonorrhea during a routine screening is from 3.1 % to 4.1% . This data allows us to suggest that oral gonorrhea infection may serve as a reservoir and source of urethral infection and that oral sex may be contributing to the ongoing transmission of gonorrhea. Moreover. It is more difficult to treat and eradicate oral gonorrhea infection than genital infection.
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Getting And Passing Herpes Via Oral Sex
To understand your individual chance of getting HIV infection via oral sex you need to understand:
- Chance of herpes transmission with symptomatic vs asymptomatic partner protected vs unprotected oral sex
- HSV 1 vs HSV-2 difference and chance of having it orally
Let discuss each portion in more details!
Should I Have Oral Sex
Talking to your partner about protection before you start having oral sex will help make things easier. This may feel embarrassing but taking responsibility for protecting yourself and your partner is an important part of having sex. If you find it too awkward to talk about then you may not be ready to have oral sex just yet.
You should never give or receive oral sex just because you feel forced into it. Dont be pressured into any sex act by comments like it doesnt mean weve had real sex youll still be a virgin, or if you dont want sex at least go down on me, or its not as risky as having intercourse. If one of you isnt comfortable with the decision it can ruin the whole experience. Oral sex should be fun for both of you.
Our article Am I ready for sex? will help you work out what is right for you.
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How Gonorrhea Is Passed From Person To Person
One thing thatâs very important to know: sexual intercourse is not required for gonorrhea to be transmitted. Contact with semen, vaginal fluid, or saliva that contains gonorrhea bacteria is all thatâs necessary.
Gonorrhea is the gram-negative bacteria that live mainly on the mucosal columnar epithelial of the affected organ both inside and outside of cells . Transmission happens during sexual contact. Upon arrival to a new host, gonorrhea forms small colonies at the area of the contact and starts invading the mucosal cells. This generally takes one or two hours after contraction of the infection.
Can I Become Infected If My Partner Has Hiv
A partnership where one person is infected with HIV and the other is not can be described as a sero-discordant relationship. There is a risk of HIV transmission if the discordant couple has unprotected sex. However, this risk can be greatly reduced with the use of condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Both partners in a discordant sexual relationship should take on the responsibility of protecting one another from HIV infection.
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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.
If You Took Pep Afterward
Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is highly effective at reducing the risk of contracting HIV from sexual activity if started within 72 hours of the possible exposure and taken consistently until finished.
How likely is this generally?
Theres no number to quantify the risk of swallowing seminal fluid.Though swallowing does increase the risk of HIV some, fellatio is considered a lower risk activity overall.
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When Can You Get Tested For Hiv
Depending on the type of test, the window period is between 10 days and 3 months.
Until you pass the window period and get your results, its a good idea to avoid activities that can result in another exposure.
Youre also able to transmit the virus during this period, so its important to let any potential sexual partners know your status is up in the air.
What We Know About Kissing
Theres no chance of getting HIV from closed-mouth or social kissing, and you cant get HIV through saliva. In some very rare cases, people have gotten HIV from deep, open-mouth French kissing because they and their partners had blood in their mouths from bleeding gums or sores . But the chance of getting HIV from deep, open-mouth kissing is much lower than from most other sexual activities.
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Estimating The Risk Per Exposure
A satisfactory answer to the question, How high is the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex? has been notoriously elusive. Collecting reliable data is challenging for several reasons:
- Very few people report oral sex as their sole risk.
- Self-reported data on sexual behaviour are hard to collect accurately, with participants failing to report condomless anal or vaginal sex they have had.
- If a person practises any other form of unprotected intercourse in addition to unprotected oral sex, any resulting HIV infection is usually attributed to the higher risk behaviour.
- Studies have frequently grouped all oral sex practices together, often not distinguishing receptive from insertive roles, whether ejaculation occurred in the mouth, etc.
Many reports of oral transmission are in the form of isolated and anecdotal reports, rather than from observational cohorts or other studies with more rigorous follow-up.
Most cohort studies following men who only practiced oral sex, or serodiscordant couples, have tended to show very low levels of risk, in many cases approaching zero. A few studies have given higher estimates which are difficult to reconcile with the others.
Can Hiv Be Transmitted Through Oral Sex
Yes, but the risk is relatively low.
HIV is transmitted through seminal and vaginal fluids, including menstrual fluids. The virus can enter the body through the bloodstream or by passing through delicate mucous membranes, such as inside the vagina, rectum or urethra.
If a person gives fellatio and has bleeding gums, a cut, or an ulcer inside their mouth, HIV could enter their bloodstream through infected fluid. This could also happen if infected fluid from a woman gets into the mouth of her partner during oral sex.
Using a condom during sex, including oral and anal sex, is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections , including HIV. Avoid using an oil-based lubricant, such as Vaseline or baby oil, because they can weaken the condom and increase the risk of it splitting.
You can use a dental dam to cover the anus or female genitals during oral sex. A dental dam is a latex or polyurethane square, measuring about 15cm by 15cm. It acts as a barrier to help stop STIs passing from one person to another.
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What Is The Risk From Oral Sex
According to Public Health England, around 1-3% of sexual HIV transmissions in the UK are because of oral sex. Other studies found that the risk is very low but is not zero.
Unprotected anal and vaginal sex leads to far more HIV infections than oral sex.
The risks are higher if the person giving oral sex has:
- cuts, sores or abrasions in their mouth or gums
- a sore throat or infection in the mouth or throat.
Or if the person receiving oral sex is:
- HIV positive
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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Getting And Passing Gonorrhea Via Oral Sex
If you wish to understand how likely it is that youâll contract gonorrhea through oral sex, you need to know a few things:
- How gonorrhea infection is passed
- What groups of people are more likely to have gonorrhea
- When is transmission of the infection more likely
- How the type of oral sex affects risk
Letâs discuss each of these!
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
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Tips For Safer Oral Sex
If a partner who is living with HIV has an undetectable viral load, their risk of transmitting HIV during oral sex is zero, whether they use the tips below or they do not.
If a partner living with HIV is not taking HIV drugs and/or has a detectable viral load, the chance of HIV transmission during oral sex is still low. The tips below can lower that chance even further. If you are not sure of your or your partners HIV status, and are not taking PrEP or if the partner living with HIV is not on treatment or is known to have a detectable viral load oral sex can be safer if you and/or your partner:
- get treatment for any other STIs you may have
- do not have gum disease
- wait to have oral sex until any mouth sores or genital cuts, scrapes, or sores have healed
- wait until after having oral sex to floss, brush your teeth, or do anything that could create cuts or cause bleeding in your mouth
- If you want to freshen up before oral sex, consider using a breath mint instead
Semen Vaginal Fluids And Anal Mucus
If an HIV positive person has sex without a condom, and they do not have an undetectable viral load, HIV can get into the other persons blood because it lives in the semen, vaginal fluid and anal mucus. There does need to be a tear or graze in the other person for the HIV to enter into their body. A condom stops any fluid being passed to the other person, and it also stops unwanted pregnancy and getting other sexually transmitted infections.
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What Do We Know About Touching
Theres extremely low to no risk for getting or transmitting HIV from touching. The only possible risk would be if body fluids from a partner with HIV touch the mucous membranes or damaged tissue of someone whos HIV-negative. Mucous membranes can be found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth. Damaged tissue could include a cut, sore, or open wound.
Theres a chance of getting or transmitting other sexually transmitted diseases through touching because some STDs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
You could also get or transmit other kinds of infections, like hepatitis A and hepatitis B virus parasites like Giardia and bacteria such as Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or E. coli if you touch someones anus because you may get feces on your hands or fingers.
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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