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If you're worried about HIV infection, you may wonder whether it's safe to have oral sex. While it's not risk-free, the chances of spreading the virus that causes AIDS are very low if you take the right precautions. The chance that you will get HIV from receiving oral sex -- that means a partner's mouth is on your genitals -- is very low compared to unprotected vaginal or anal sex. But it's not easy to know what the actual risk is. This is because most people who have oral sex also have vaginal or anal sex. It's tricky to figure out each factor on its own.
Oral sex has a very low risk of HIV transmission. The virus can very rarely be passed on this way and only if the person with HIV has a detectable viral load.
Other studies found that the risk is very low but is not zero. Other sexually transmitted infections STIs such as gonorrhoeachlamydiaherpes and syphilis can be passed on through oral sex.
Even if their viral load is detectable, this is considered to be an extremely low risk. Infection would really only be possible if someone with HIV was giving someone oral sex when their mouth was bleeding.
Avoid getting semen in your mouth — all but one of the cases where someone has been infected with HIV through oral sex took place when an HIV positive person with a detectable viral load ejaculated into their mouth. The risk from unprotected oral sex with someone with a detectable viral load increases if you have:. Avoid performing oral sex without protection on someone with a detectable viral load while you have any of the above.
Regular check-ups for STIs will pick up infections in your throat.
Frequently asked questions
Remember that other STIs can also be passed on through oral sexincluding herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis. The only way to be sure whether you have HIV to be tested. This contains health or social care information produced in line with the Information Standard. Oral sex Oral sex has a very low risk of HIV transmission.
What is the risk from oral sex?
Unprotected anal and vaginal sex le 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.
Can you get infected with hiv from oral sex?
Or if the person receiving oral sex is: HIV positive has a detectable viral load has any cuts, sores or inflammation on the genital area. Receiving oral sex from someone with HIV Text.
Performing oral sex on a man with HIV Text. Performing oral sex on a woman with HIV Text. Reducing the risk from oral sex Text.
The risk from unprotected oral sex with someone with a detectable viral load increases if you have: a throat infection including an STI in the throat damage to the lining of the mouth or throat had recent dental work or your gums bleed a lot. By cutting down on the of oral sex partners, you make the very small HIV risk even lower.
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Content last reviewed 6 February Next review due 6 February