Understanding Oral Sex and HIV Transmission

Rahul Gupta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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oral sex and hiv

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that targets cells essential for the body’s immune response against infections.

As per WHO, approximately 180,000 [150,000-220,000] individuals contracted HIV in the year 2022. 

Without suitable treatment, HIV can advance to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), a critical stage where the immune system weakens considerably. 

It’s crucial to highlight that unprotected sex can lead to HIV transmission.

The question that arises here is, can HIV be transmitted after oral sex? or is it just a myth?

Read this informative article on oral sex and HIV to gain a better understanding and clarity on the subject.

Can you get HIV from oral sex

Acquiring HIV from oral sex generally carries little to no risk. 

HIV transmission can occur if an HIV-positive man ejaculates in his partner’s mouth during oral sex.

A study of Homosexual men in San Francisco who recently acquired HIV-1 indicates that in approximately 7% of cases, the virus may have been transmitted through oral sex.

Risk factors for HIV transmission during oral sex include oral sores, bleeding gums, genital ulcers, and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), whether visible or not.

However, the risk of HIV transmission remains minimal, significantly lower compared to anal or vaginal sex.

Fact:
In 2022, approximately 1.3 million people worldwide contracted HIV, reflecting a 38% reduction in new infections since 2010 and a significant 59% decline since the peak in 1995.

How is HIV transmitted

couple on bedSource: Syda_productions
Sexual activity

HIV is spread through direct contact with specific body fluids from an individual with a detectable viral load of HIV.

These fluids include blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.

HIV transmission requires contact with an HIV-negative person’s bloodstream through mucous membranes, cuts, or direct injection.

Engaging in sexual activity with an HIV-positive person, even with condom use, could potentially result in HIV transmission.

HIV can also be transmitted through sharing injection drug equipment and from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.

It is important to note that HIV does not spread through casual contact, like handshakes, hugs, sneezing, or kissing.

The risk from oral sex

As per Public Health England, roughly 1-3% of sexual transmission in the United Kingdom is caused due to oral sex. 

Although the risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is far less than vaginal or anal sex, the minimal risk still exists. 

The risk of contracting HIV is probably higher when the individual giving oral sex has cuts, sores, or infections in their mouth or gums.

Or if the person receiving the oral sex is HIV positive and has a detectable viral load and the presence of cuts, sores, or inflammation in the genital area. 

Warning:
If left untreated, HIV can advance to AIDS, with no current cure. Once contracted, HIV persists as a lifelong condition. However, timely medical intervention can effectively manage the impact of HIV.

Receiving oral sex from an HIV-positive individual

Even with a detectable viral load, the risk is extremely low.

Infection is mainly possible if someone with HIV performs oral sex with a bleeding mouth.

Performing oral sex on HIV-positive individual

Engaging in oral sex with an HIV-positive person, particularly if pre-cum or semen enters the mouth, poses a potential risk for someone who is HIV-negative.

Performing oral sex on a person living with HIV carries a low risk of HIV transmission, but it is not considered risk-free. 

Recommended Article
To gain a deeper understanding of oral sex and effective precautions, delve into this informative article on 
Unveiling the Risks and Safeguards: Understanding STD from Oral Sex.

Protective measures during oral sex

use condomSource: Signature_images
Use condom

To curb the risk of HIV transmission during oral sex, you can take the following protective measures:

  • Use a condom or dental dam to create a barrier during oral sex
  • Avoid allowing ejaculation in your mouth to reduce HIV transmission risk
  • Opt for less risky behaviors, especially if your partner is HIV-negative
  • Maintaining good oral health through regular brushing and flossing
  • Get tested and treated for other STIs to lower HIV transmission risk
  • Having open communication with your partner about HIV status and sexual health

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the dynamics of oral sex and HIV is essential for making informed decisions about sexual health.

Although the likelihood of transmission through oral sex is generally low, it is not non-existent.

Taking preventive measures, such as using barriers like condoms or dental dams, avoiding ejaculation in the mouth, and maintaining good oral health, can further reduce these risks.

It’s important to note that the risk varies based on factors like the HIV status of both partners and the presence of any oral or genital issues. 

Open communication with your partner about HIV status and sexual health is vital for a safe and healthy sexual experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get HIV from kissing? 

No, it’s not. Scientific evidence shows that HIV cannot be transmitted through kissing. The virus spreads through specific bodily fluids like blood, semen, and vaginal fluids, not through saliva. 

Can I get HIV from oral sex?

There is minimal to no risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV through oral sex. However, other STDs can be transmitted through this activity. Using condoms and HIV preventive medications can further decrease the already very low risk associated with getting HIV from oral sex.

Can I contract HIV if he ejaculates in my mouth?

While transmission through oral sex is exceptionally rare, the risk of contracting HIV through this route is extremely low. It becomes a possibility only when the person with HIV has a detectable viral load. 

How to prevent HIV during oral sex?

The most effective method to prevent HIV during oral sex is consistent condom use. Opt for water-based lubricants, as oil-based ones may heighten the risk of condom breakage.

Citations:
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