How safe is Oral Sex?
Oral sex has not been associated with HIV transmission. The sexual transmission of Hepatitis C is very rare as well. Hepatitis C is mostly transmitted through contaminated needles, blood transfusions and shared injection equipment. When researchers study Hepatitis C in semen it is very difficult to find the virus, and when they do the amount is very low.
You’re right, that’s what has been said. But there are no data that show that bleeding gums, sore throats, bad teeth, or mouth sores actually increase the risk of transmission. For years, either we have not had data or had bad data. Now, reliable data shows the risk of HIV from oral sex is either zero or very, very low.
Questions about oral sex are probably the most common ones I get. In terms of HIV, oral sex both ways is very, very safe. We recently completed a study of men in San Francisco who have only had oral sex and found zero new HIV infections. But, other STDs like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes are definitely transmitted through oral sex, and oral sex has likely contributed to our current syphilis outbreak.
As you know, many of these infections are easily diagnosed with simple tests and are readily treated. So my advice is: Enjoy oral sex and get regular check-ups. A good check-up includes throat testing for gonorrhea, rectal testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia, urine testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia and blood tests for herpes, syphilis and HIV. We call that the grand slam!
Saliva has natural anti-HIV factors and there have been no recent reports of HIV from oral sex. Hep B can be transmitted via oral sex and kissing, but there are very good shots to prevent Hep B. So if you are concerned, get the shots. Hep C has not been transmitted via kissing.
The truth from the University of California San Francisco and the San Francisco Department of Public Health is that the risk of transmission of HIV via oral sex is very, very, very, very, very low and may be zero. Other sources of information in the U.K. and elsewhere are not based on sound epidemiological data. But remember, other STDs can be transmitted easily via oral sex. So regular check-ups are in order. In those check-ups, get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, get screened in your throat, ass and urine for chlamydia and gonorrhea and get blood tests for HIV, syphilis and herpes. DEMAND these tests form your doctor, clinic or health department. These tests are out there and essential to maintaining good sexual health. Be kind, be cool and be safe.
A very recent study from Spain confirmed earlier studies that oral sex is safe sex in terms of HIV, and it is very, very uncommon for oral sex to transmit HIV–it may be as low as zero risk. That said, oral sex can transmit gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and syphilis, so sexually active men and women who have oral sex should get regular STD check-ups at least every six months, if not more, depending on how many new partners folks have.