Protected Oral Sex?

Originally Posted: 
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Question: 

Hi there,
I was down in Vegas with my buddies this last weekend and I received oral sex WITH a condom from a commercial sex worker. I suddenly started thinking after about the possibility of HIV. I do have symptoms of a cold right now and a very small rash on my body. Are these signs of HIV seroconversion and is there any way to get tested ASAP? I'm a 25 y/o male.
 

Answer: 

Hi there & thank-you for using AIDS Vancouver Helpline Online.
 
Receiving oral sex is considered negligible risk for HIV transmission- this means that there has NEVER been a documented or reported case of transmission this way. Protected oral sex is even safer because it protects you from other STIs (such as syphilis, gonorrhea, oral herpes etc) that can be transmitted from skin to skin contact- so that is fantastic to hear you were using protection!
 
The other factor that makes HIV transmission through oral sex unlikely is that there is actually an enzyme in saliva which inhibits the virus from getting into the cells in your blood stream so HIV transmission risks around oral sex are low to no risk.
 
Condoms are the most effective way to prevent transmission of all STIs, including HIV. This is because if the condom didn’t break or fail then  there is no way for HIV can get through latex- no way, no how.
 
As for HIV symptoms, many people do not experience symptoms. In some cases, a person will get a strong flu-like illness after 2-6 weeks of exposure.
 
 
Because HIV symptoms mirror other viral infections (flu, etc...), thus even though you may feel ill and/or have flu-like symptoms, it does not necessary means that is caused by HIV. The only way to really know your status is get tested.
 
There are several types of HIV tests that you can take. The most common types are the ELISA and Rapid tests- both of these look for antibodies in the blood and you can get tested as early as 4 weeks post possible exposure. For a little bit more info on both of these tests please read below:
 
EIA (Enzyme Immunoassay Antibody 3rd generation aka ELISA) look for antibodies and the window period is 4 weeks to 3 months after the exposure. Results at 3 months are definitive & conclusive
 
Rapid test also looks antibodies in blood by either blood or oral swab. The window period is same as EIA, 4weeks to 3 months. Results at 3 months are considered definitive & conclusive.
 
Other test options are the Early Test (detects viral RNA in blood of individuals without detectable antibodies). The window period is 10-12 days. The accuracy is 90% at 10-12 days, 95-98% at 6 weeks and 99% at 12 weeks.
 
Also, if available, you could have the 4th Generation HIV test done.4th generation/DUO test looks for antibodies and P24 protein. P24 is detectable immediately after the infection. Several medical professionals have told me that this test is now considered conclusive at 6 weeks.
 
 
If you have never tested for HIV along with other STIs, I strongly suggest you to get tested and know your status. For a list of testing sites in Vancouver please check out http://www.aidsvancouver.org/info/testing/testsites
 
Hopefully you find the information helpful.
If you still have questions and/or concerns, please feel free to call or email us.
 
Stay health and keep smiling,
Yoshiko
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
Direct: 604-696-4666 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm)
 


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