How risky is oral sex?
Oral sex is the sucking or licking of someone's external genitalia (penis or vulva) or anus. Most experts agree that having unprotected oral sex is not as risky as having unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse. But oral sex is not risk free.
Unprotected oral sex is less risky than unprotected intercourse because the skin inside the mouth is stronger and thicker than the skin inside the vagina or anus. The skin inside your mouth is less likely to tear during oral sex, allowing fewer opportunities for HIV to enter the bloodstream. Also, it is believed that there is a substance in saliva that actually inhibits HIV.
Remember, even though the risk is low for HIV transmission during oral sex with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status is not known, many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhea, chlamidya and herpes can be spread through unprotected oral sex.
Who is at risk?
Body fluids that can transmit HIV include pre-ejaculate fluid, semen, vaginal fluids and blood (including menstrual blood). The receptive partner (the person performing the oral sex act) is at more risk than the insertive partner (the person being stimulated orally). This is due to the fact that the receptive partner comes into contact with more fluids that can transmit the infection.
What increases the risk of HIV getting into my bloodstream?
The risk of HIV entering your bloodstream increases if:
-- You have any cuts or sores in your mouth, even if they are unnoticeable. These tiny cuts could be caused by disease, dental work, flossing, brushing or even from eating ?sharp? foods like chips.
-- The skin in your mouth or on your partner's genitals is torn (even unnoticeably) during rough, very penetrative or prolonged oral sex.