The risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is even lower if the HIV-negative partner is taking medicine to prevent HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis or Pr EP) or the HIV-positive partner is taking medicine to treat HIV (antiretroviral therapy or ART) and is virally suppressed.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).
Accordingly, US investigators asked a total of 3,723 HIV-positive individuals living in four large US cities about the type of sex they had had with their last five sexual partners over a three-month period.
A total of 1,918 individuals were gay men, 978 were women and 827 were heterosexual men.
Three quarters of heterosexual men and women and 81% of gay men had been sexually active in the preceding three months.
A number of studies have found that approximately a third of HIV-positive individuals have unprotected sex after their HIV diagnosis.
However, these studies have several limitations: they are often based on a small sample in a single geographical site, they have tended to focus on gay men, have regarded oral sex as a major HIV risk activity, and have not considered the impact of HAART on infectiousness.
The type of oral sex that may be the riskiest is mouth-to-penis oral sex.
But the risk is still very low, and much lower than with anal or vaginal sex.
Though the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is low, several factors may increase that risk, including sores in the mouth or vagina or on the penis, bleeding gums, oral contact with menstrual blood, and the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Other STDs, such as syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be transmitted during oral sex.
edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
However, investigators found that 15% of gay men, 19% of heterosexual women, and 13% of heterosexual men infected with HIV had unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an HIV-negative partner (or a partner whose HIV status they did not know), and that this could have led to over 30 new infections.
A dental dam is a thin, square piece of latex or silicone that is placed over the vagina or anus during oral sex.