HIV and Oral Sex

  • Oral sex is a common practice that includes any mouth, tongue or lip contact with the penis (fellatio), vagina (cunnilingus) or anus (anilingus, also called rimming).
  • Even though many do not use condoms or barriers for oral sex, this does not mean that unprotected oral sex is “safe sex.”
  • Like all sexual activity it has some risks.
  • Several co-factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex including the presence of other STDs, oral ulcers, bleeding gums and genital sores.
  • HIV transmission through ‘receptive fellatio,’ which means an HIV-negative person performing oral sex (giving a blow job) on a man with HIV, is possible, if other STDs, oral ulcers or bleeding gums are present. HIV transmission through ‘insertive fellatio,’ which means an HIV-negative man receiving oral sex from a person with HIV, is very low risk and may be impossible.
  • There have been very few reports of possible HIV transmission through cunnilingus (oral sex performed on a woman). It is biologically possible that HIV could be transmitted to an HIV-negative person performing oral sex on a woman with HIV, but this is considered to be much less risky.
  • Most importantly, many other STDs are easily transmitted by oral sex. These include herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis and intestinal parasites (amebiasis).