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Ask Dr. K

This guy and I gave each other oral and I did not know him. It only lasted 10 minutes and neither of us came. I heard people can contract syphilis from oral sex, but then I also found out that itís possible to get HIV from oral. I am freaking out and am so worried. Do people always use condoms during oral? What are the chances I could have HIV? I know it wonít show up in my system for a while and I therefore canít get tested for HIV yet. Please write back soon!

That's a great question. Oral sex is considered to be extremely low risk for HIV transmission. Some experts believe there is essentially no risk. This information is based on twenty plus years of data on HIV collected from millions of cases all around the world. That said, the official word is that oral sex spread of HIV is possible, although very rare.

Unprotected oral sex, however, can expose you to other STDs. Gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in a partnerís throat, for example, could transmit that infection to your penis. Similarly, a partner with a syphilis lesion in his mouth could pass that infection to your penis through oral sex. Gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis infections of the penis can be passed to a partnerís mouth or throat.

For many people, unprotected oral sex is considered an acceptable level of risk since the potentially transmitted infections are curable. You'll have to decide what is acceptable for you. I encourage you to look at our STD charts and to use always use condoms during sex. The STD charts will show you risk factors involved for HIV and STD transmission with different types of sexual activity. For further information, you can call the San Francisco City Clinic at 415-487-5500 or visit them in person at 356 7th Street, San Francisco - no appointment needed.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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