You can also use other HIV prevention methods, below. If you are living with HIV , the most important thing you can do to prevent transmission and stay healthy is to take your HIV medication known as antiretroviral therapy or ART , every day, exactly as prescribed. There also are other options to choose from, below. The more of these actions you take, the safer you can be. Abstinence means not having oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
Can HIV be transmitted through oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus)?
Oral sex and HIV transmission
As the risk of transmission through oral sex is estimated to be much lower than for vaginal and anal intercourse in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, it is implausible that the risk of transmission through oral sex is not affected in the same way as other sexual transmission risks when effective treatment suppresses viral load. When HIV is not fully supressed, the risk of HIV transmission through the mouth is certainly smaller than through vaginal or anal intercourse. If undamaged, the tissues of the mouth and throat are thought to be less susceptible to infection than genital or anal tissues, and an enzyme in saliva also acts to inhibit HIV. Very few cases of transmission through oral sex have been reported amongst gay men despite the continued practice of oral sex often with ejaculation into the mouth by large numbers of men over many years. There are no reliable reports of HIV being transmitted from the mouth to the genitals. Cases of transmission via cunnilingus are extremely rare, and the reliability of these reports is questionable. There are no reported cases of HIV transmission through kissing.
Oral sex involves using the mouth to stimulate the penis fellatio , vagina cunnilingus , or anus anilingus. However, it is hard to know the exact risk because a lot of people who have oral sex also have anal or vaginal sex. The type of oral sex that may be the riskiest is mouth-to-penis oral sex.
Participants: Susan P. Buchbinder, MD; Frederick M. Hecht, MD; Jeffrey D.