Oral sex and Cunnilingus HIV: What risks do you have and how to reduce them
People often have questions about whether they can get infected during oral sex with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This article talks about the possible risks, testings and treatment, as well as methods of protection during oral sex. Many people believe that oral sex is completely safe, but it is only associated with less risk, transmission of infections during oral sex and it is quite possible.
What is oral sex?
Oral sex means that one person uses his mouth, tongue and lips to stimulate the genitals of another person. There are different kinds of oral sex, when the mouth and tongue are used for stimulation:
- Stimulation of the vulva, vagina and clitoris of a woman is cunnilingus.
- Stimulation of the penis of a man – fellatio, “blowjob”.
- Stimulation of the anus – rimming, anilingus.
Many people make or receive oral sex during their lifetime. The advantage of oral sex may be a complete absence of risk of unwanted pregnancy. However, even with such sex there remains a certain risk of transmission of infections.
How much oral sex is safe?
It is very difficult to give a definite answer to this question, because there is not always reliable information about how an STI is transmitted. At the moment we can state the following:
Some infections are more easily transmitted through oral sex than others.
Oral sex is much safer than unprotected (without a condom) vaginal or anal sex.
In the case of most infections, the main risks are related to the situation when you are doing oral sex, and other genital fluid enters your mouth. Getting oral sex is safer, because in this case you are not contacting the genitals, but with the oral cavity.
Even if you or your partner does not have any symptoms, you may have infections that are transmitted by oral sex.
What can I gain during oral sex?
The most common infections during oral sex are:
Infections that are rarely transmitted, but still there is such a risk:
Genital warts (condylomas)
The exact risk (in percent) of transmission of an infection during oral sex is unknown.
No one knows how many people have been infected with HIV during oral sex, but this is possible. However, this risk for cunnilingus HIV is much less than with unprotected vaginal or anal sex.
How can infections be transmitted during oral sex?
Infection is transmitted only if it is in you or in your partner. Many people had no signs or symptoms, and they simply do not know that they have STIs.
Infections are transmitted by oral sex in the following situations:
Contact the skin to the skin or hair to the hair. The simple herpes that causes “colds on the lips” and genital herpes, as well as syphilis can be associated with the appearance of sores and irritations on the skin. If the sore contacts the mouth, genitals or anus, this can lead to transmission of infection. Sometimes these infections are transmitted by contacting the skin to the skin even without visible symptoms.
In rare cases, genital warts can be transmitted from the genitals to the lips and mouth during oral sex. Pubic lice (pubic pediculosis) sometimes transmitted from the pubic hair to the head, for example, to the beard.
Through body fluids. Viruses and bacteria that cause certain diseases are transmitted through infected fluids (sperm, pre-leukemia fluid (“male lubricant”), blood or vaginal discharge). Infection is transmitted when one of the infected fluids contacts:
Sores, cuts or places of inflammation on the lips, mouth, genitals or anus.
Cages of the throat.
Such contact allows viruses and bacteria to enter the bloodstream or infect cells of the mucosa. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis can be transmitted in this way.
Through the digestive tract. Hepatitis A, which refers to diseases of “unwashed hands,” is transmitted when fecal matter enters the digestive tract. It can be passed on to a person who stimulated the partner’s mouth with an anus, even if the anus seemed completely clean.
What infection can I get if I make an oral sex to another person?
If you licked, kissed or sucked the penis, vulva, vagina or anus partner, then you had a risk of infection. To infections that are relatively easily transmitted by oral sex include gonorrhea, herpes simplex, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and syphilis, although in rare cases other infections can also be transmitted.
If your partner has an infection, then you may have an increased risk if:
You have a sore throat or in the mouth or on the lips there are sores, wounds or inflammation.
Your partner has sores, wounds, cuts or warts on the genitals or anus.
Your lips or genus were in contact with the skin, on which ulcers subsequently appeared.
Your partner had menstruation.
You have got infected fluids in your mouth or throat.
You got into the eye semen or vaginal discharge, infected with gonorrhea or chlamydia (this can lead to conjunctivitis).
How do I understand what I have transfered at the time of oral sex?
Many people do not have any symptoms or signs of infection. Determine an asymptomatic infection can only special tests. Possible symptoms may include:
A sore throat.
Sores or abscesses in the mouth or on the lips.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis.
How can I protect myself from infections during oral sex?
Use a male condom for the penis and a female condom or latex napkin for the female genitalia or anus. During oral sex, you should avoid spermicide lubrication for condoms.
Avoid oral sex if you or your partner:
• Have sexually transmitted infection.
• Have sores, wounds, abscesses, warts or rashes on the genitals, anus or in the mouth, as well as uninhabited holes for piercing.
Do not do oral sex to a woman if she has menstruation.
Do not brush your teeth before oral sex, as this causes bleeding in your mouth.
Try not to get your sperm or vaginal discharge in your eyes.
You can also get vaccinated against hepatitis B and hepatitis A.
If you brush your teeth or rinse your mouth before or after sex, it will NOT protect you from infections.
What if my partner has a herpes on lips?
The sores of genital herpes and the common cold on the lips (which can also be in the mouth and nose) are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Oral sex is the usual way of transmitting the herpes simplex virus from one person to another. Herpes can be transmitted even if there are no visible sores or inflammation.
If your partner has genital herpes, it can be passed on to your mouth or throat with oral sex, and as a result, you may then have a cold on your lips. Herpes is not transmitted from your own mouth to the genitals, although during the first episode of the disease it is theoretically possible if you touch the sore on the lip, and then touch the genitals.
If your partner has oral herpes (that is, he has a cold on his lips), and he does oral sex to you, then the virus can infect your genitals.
What if the partner will finish to my mouth?
The exact risk of transmission of infections in this case is unknown. If the partner has an infection that is transmitted through sperm or blood (which could get into the sperm), then you probably have a risk of ejaculation in the mouth. Most likely, the risk will be the same, regardless of whether you swallow the sperm or spit it out. The more sperm you get into your mouth, the higher the risk.
Infections that are transmitted through sperm include chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and HIV.
Preejaculation fluid (male lubricant) can also be a source of infection, so if the presentation liquid has got to you mouth, even without ejaculation, you could have a risk.
If you yourself ejaculated in the partner’s mouth, then this does not affect the risk for you.
What if my partner has HIV, and he ejaculated (finished) in my mouth?
If your partner is HIV-positive, and he ejaculated in your mouth, then you had a small risk of cunnilingus HIV transmission. This risk depends on the level of HIV in his blood, as well as on the presence of other sexually transmitted infections, especially if they lead to secretions and sores. Also, the risk depends on whether you have any cuts, sores and abscesses in your mouth and lips.
If you are concerned about unprotected sexual contact with a known HIV-positive partner, then you can contact the Regional AIDS Prevention and Control Center about taking antiretroviral drugs as post-exposure HIV prevention. The effectiveness of this prevention is higher if you start it as early as possible, at the latest – 72 hours after a risky situation.
Postexposure prophylaxis is usually not recommended if:
You did oral sex to a woman.
Ejaculation in the mouth was not, even if your partner was HIV-positive.
Is the risk of cunnilingus HIV increased if the partner has menstruation?
If a woman has an infection that is transmitted through the blood, then you will have a risk if you did oral sex during menstruation. The risk of infection increases if you have had ulcers, abscesses, sores or inflammation in the oral cavity. Infections that are transmitted through the blood include hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Can oral sex lead to cancer of the mouth or throat?
At the moment, research continues on the possible relationship between oral sex and cancer of the mouth or throat. Cancer of the mouth or throat is associated with varieties of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, including oral sex. These are not the same types of HPV that cause genital warts.
However, the main proven causes of cancer of the mouth or throat are smoking and chewing tobacco.
Can HIV pass through the saliva of a partner?
Although separate copies of the virus can be isolated in saliva and urine, the level of the virus in these fluids is too small, and they are not a source of infection. In addition, saliva contains antiviral substances that reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus. However, if there is visible blood in the saliva, for example, from a wound in the mouth or an unprotected piercing, transmission of the infection will be possible.
Gums can bleed if you brush your teeth, so try not to brush your teeth before or after oral sex.
What is a latex paper?
Latex napkin (vaginal napkin) – a square of latex or polyurethane, usually 15 by 15 centimeters, which can cover the anus or female genitals. The napkin acts as a barrier, and it helps prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Sometimes latex napkins are sold in pharmacies or they can be ordered by mail, but usually they are rarely found on sale. You can make this napkin yourself – for this you can cut it out from latex medical gloves or a flavored condom (the tip is cut off from the condom, and then it is cut along to make a square). How to use a latex cloth:
Cover the genital area (vulva, vagina or anus) with a tissue before touching the area with your mouth.
Hold it in place with your hands during oral sex.
It does not matter which side you attach the napkin to the vulva or anus, but if you use it, do not turn it over.
Do not shift the napkin from the anus to the genitals, since harmless intestinal bacteria can cause a vaginal infection.
Do not use grease on a greasy basis with latex, they can damage it.
Never use a latex cloth again.
Latex napkins are not suitable for penetrating sex.
How do I understand I have infection transmitted by the sexual way?
Not all people have signs and symptoms of infections. Sometimes they are absent for months, and at the same time you can pass the infection to other people.
If you engage in unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex, and you notice the following symptoms, then you need to see a doctor:
Itching, rash, swelling, or sores around the genitals, vagina, anus or mouth.
Unusual vaginal discharge.
Discharge from the penis.
Irritation, pain or burning during urination.
Pain and / or bleeding during or after sex.
Bleeding between menstruation (including women who take hormonal contraception).
Pain in the testicles or in the lower abdomen.
A sore throat.
Heathitis a, hepatitis b and hepatitis c affect the liver, not the genitals. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis a, hepatitis b or hepatitis C can include:
Flu-like condition, including fever, body aches and headache.
Extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Dark urine and / or white feces.
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and / or eyes).
Hepatitis c is very rarely transmitted by sexual contact, but such cases are also known.
Even if you do not have any symptoms and have questions about cunnilingus HIV probability, you should seek an infection test, especially if:
You had unprotected sex, including oral sex, with a new partner.
You or your regular partner have had sex with other people without a condom.
Your regular partner has any symptoms.
Most sexually transmitted infections can be successfully cured, especially at an early stage. Some infections, including HIV, are incurable, that is, they remain in the body for life. However, there are drugs that allow you to control the infection and prevent the development of HIV-associated diseases and the stage of AIDS. Without treatment, STIs can lead to painful and unpleasant complications, infertility, and can be transmitted to your partners.