Can I acquire HIV from oral sex?
So it's 2am, you're in a bathroom at a house party and someone you just met is breathing into your stomach while they're unzipping your fly. What do you need to know before you shove your dick in their mouth?
Blowjobs should be a great time for everyone involved, and getting rid of any misconceptions about HIV and STIs means you can enjoy the moment without worry.
How risky is oral sex for HIV?
Dick-sucking isn't what we'd call high risk. The lining of your mouth is strong, and saliva actually contains antibodies that neutralise and deactivate the virus.
So it's pretty hard to infect the skin inside your mouth - but you should still check for cuts and ulcers both in the mouth and on the cock, because these can create a path for HIV to get into your bloodstream.
Flossing and vigorous brushing can cause gum bleeding which puts you at a higher risk of being infected when you're giving a beej, so that's something to keep in mind when you're getting ready to go out on a Friday night (don't tell your dentist we said that)!
Think you've been exposed to HIV?
Use the tool -to find out the likely risk of a specific event or encounter. If you were at risk of HIV exposure you will also get a recommendation for next steps.HIV Risk Estimator
Oral sex presents a very low risk of HIV transmission. There is an enzyme in saliva that acts as a natural defence to HIV.
Is it safe to get cum in my mouth or to swallow cum?
If your partner nuts in your mouth it does increase the risk of HIV, because HIV can be in cum (it can be in precum too, but in much lower amounts).
The risk is still extremely low, but you should spit or swallow quickly. Stomach acid and enzymes in the esophagus kill HIV, so it’s the length of time the cum is in your mouth that’s the risky part.
Remember the saying: Spit or swallow, don't let it wallow!
Is it safe for someone living with HIV to suck my cock?
People living with HIV have very low concentrations of the virus in their saliva, so the threat of HIV transmission is extremely low.
And if they're on treatment and have maintained an undetectable viral load for more than six months, then there's no risk of transmission from oral sex (or even anal sex!).
What if they don't know their HIV status?
A person is most infectious in the first two weeks of acquiring HIV, so it's much more likely that you'd contract HIV from someone who doesn't know they're living with the virus.
For blowjobs, transmission risk increases slightly with a high viral load - but it's still almost 0%.
What about other STIs?
So HIV isn't a high risk when you're giving/getting head, but that doesn't mean you're protected from any other STIs.
You can get syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia from blowjobs, as well as other types of inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth. So while you're relatively safe from HIV, if you're having oral sex with multiple partners then you should be getting tested for STIs at least once every three months.
What if we decide to fuck?
While condoms and lube aren’t necessary for oral sex, it's incredibly important to make sure you're using at least one form of protection for anal sex.
Watch this instructional guide with real life anal sex to make sure you know what you're doing (it's also pretty good watch even if you're an old pro).
More Risk FAQs
I had sex with a guy and I was the top. I came inside him and the condom broke. Should I get PEP? This was anonymous sex and I don't know this man. How much does PEP cost?
If the condom broke then there is a risk of contracting HIV. While the risk is greatest for the bottom, it is still high-risk for the top because if the bottom has HIV it can be highly concentrated in the lining of his ass which can then enter the tip of your penis.
PEP is free under certain circumstances:
- If you know that the person you were having sex with is HIV positive and has an unknown or detectable viral load.
- If the person you were having sex with doesn’t know their status but is from a high HIV prevalence country or high HIV risk group.
- If you have had non-consensual intercourse with someone and your doctor thinks PEP is suitable
In other situations, you may have to pay. Ask your doctor about self-funding - they can still write a prescription and you can pay for your own PEP pills at the pharmacy (approx $15 plus pharmacy mark-up).
We recommend visiting your local sexual health clinic, the emergency department of your nearest hospital, the local after-hours clinic, or even contacting your GP as soon as possible to find out your options. For PEP to be effective, it needs to be started as soon as possible and no later than 72 hours after exposure to HIV.
Why is unprotected anal sex more dangerous than unprotected vaginal sex?
The inside of the rectum is like a sponge, absorbing nutrients into the bloodstream from food passing through, meaning it can also easily absorb HIV from semen. The cells of the vagina are much less absorbent and not as vulnerable to HIV. However it is still possible to contract HIV through unprotected vaginal sex.
Is it very easy to get HIV if I have ulcers in my mouth and give a blow job to a guy I just met? Assuming he is positive...
Oral sex is very low risk for HIV transmission. It's important to manage the risks as much as possible, and still enjoy sex. A couple of things to consider to keep that risk to a minimum is not letting them cum in your mouth and checking for cuts or ulcers either in the mouth or on the penis, as they become potential entry points for HIV to enter into your blood stream. So yes, if you have ulcers in your mouth and you get his cum or pre-cum on those ulcers there is some risk.