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Can Someone Get HIV Through Oral Sex?

If a person who is infected with HIV gives a partner oral sex, can the partner become infected with HIV?
– Dan

Yes. Although rare, it is possible to transmit HIV through giving and receiving oral sex.

When someone with HIV gives oral sex, the virus can go from small (sometimes not visible) cuts or sores in the mouth into the uninfected person's body through the urethra (the opening at the tip of the penis where sperm comes out), vagina, or anus. When someone with HIV receives oral sex, the virus can enter the other person's body when semen (cum) or vaginal fluids get into the mouth.

If either partner also has another STD (like herpes, gonorrhea, or chlamydia), it increases the chance of HIV infection even more.

Placing a protective barrier between the mouth and genitals can lower the chances of HIV infection both when giving and receiving oral sex. Guys should always wear a latex condom (or polyurethane if one partner is allergic to latex). Girls should put a dental dam or plastic food wrapping as a barrier over the genitals.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011

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