Unprotected Oral Sex with a sex worker

Originally Posted: 
Friday, June 10, 2011
Question: 

I made a stupid mistake and had unprotected oral sex only with a sex worker picked up from the street. What is my risk for acquiring HIV from receiving unprotected oral sex. I have heard it is low risk but what if she was bleeding or had some sort of open sore in her mouth would that increase my risk. I do recall her having a tongue ring could that have made her susceptible to having cuts in her mouth?

Answer: 

Hi there & thanks for using AIDS Vancouver as your source of HIV/AIDS related informaiton.
 
Receiving oral sex is considered "negligible risk" for HIV transmission- this means that you could make a theoretical case for transmission but we have never EVER seen a case of HIV transmission this way- EVER. One of the main reasons for this is that saliva is not a fluid that can transmit HIV (this is why kissing/deep kissing is NO risk for HIV transmission). Saliva actually contains an enzyme which inhibits HIV from binding to or entering the cells.
 
HIV transmission through open cuts and sores is a theory but there has only been one documented case of transmission this way-- through a very bloody knife fight with open, actively bleeding cuts.
 
If you are worried about this possible exposure, it might not be a bad idea to get tested. While recieving unprotected oral sex is not a realistic risk for HIV transmission, STIs such as syphilis, Herpes, and gonorrhea can be transmitted quite easily through oral sex.
 
If you are from Vancouver, please check out or website for a list of testing clinics. The STI & HIV Clinic on West 12th (between Ash & Willow) is really great and they have pretty flexible hours. For more info you can call them at 604.707.5600
 
All the best,
 
Monica
AIDS Vancouver Helpline
604.696.4666, Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
helpline@aidsvancouver.org

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