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Author Topic: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"  (Read 4558 times)

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Offline Gonville

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So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« on: April 10, 2012, 11:21:43 AM »
Hey!! So, here's my story.

Two weeks ago, I hooked up with this guy. I didn't know him at all, and I haven't spoken to him since. We had oral sex...nothing else. I told him I wasn't a fan of anal, and he respected that. I sucked his dick and only swallowed precum. When he was ready to ejaculate, he did it all over my face...there was a lot! I'm not too worried about having the virus, because through the research I've done, and reading other posts on this forum, I've come to the conclusion that if there is any risk, it's little to none. Just to be extra sure (and for some peace of mind), I'll go and get tested in six weeks, and then follow up after thirteen weeks.

 I do want to ask, however, if y'all consider oral sex to be "safe sex?" I know y'all call it a theoretical risk, but when it comes to real life situations, do y'all say, "It's okay to have unprotected oral sex?" I mean, besides extreme cases where the guy has a soaring viral load and the other partner has deplorable oral hygiene, do y'all think that it's perfectly okay to have unprotected oral sex?

I think you guys are great and love reading your responses! Can't wait to hear back from you! Much love, everyone!

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 11:42:29 AM »
Hey!! So, here's my story.

Two weeks ago, I hooked up with this guy. I didn't know him at all, and I haven't spoken to him since. We had oral sex...nothing else. I told him I wasn't a fan of anal, and he respected that. I sucked his dick and only swallowed precum. When he was ready to ejaculate, he did it all over my face...there was a lot! I'm not too worried about having the virus, because through the research I've done, and reading other posts on this forum, I've come to the conclusion that if there is any risk, it's little to none. Just to be extra sure (and for some peace of mind), I'll go and get tested in six weeks, and then follow up after thirteen weeks.

 I do want to ask, however, if y'all consider oral sex to be "safe sex?" I know y'all call it a theoretical risk, but when it comes to real life situations, do y'all say, "It's okay to have unprotected oral sex?" I mean, besides extreme cases where the guy has a soaring viral load and the other partner has deplorable oral hygiene, do y'all think that it's perfectly okay to have unprotected oral sex?

I think you guys are great and love reading your responses! Can't wait to hear back from you! Much love, everyone!

I see what you did there. :)

Here's what you need to know about HIV transmission:

HIV is a fragile virus, it is transmitted in very particular ways. Those ways are:

Unprotected vaginal and anal sex;
Sharing contaminated injecting equipment such as needles and syringes;
In some cases from HIV positive mother to her unborn or nursing infant.

Does any of that sound like what you've been up to?

MtD

Offline Gonville

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 04:24:33 PM »
Hey!!

 I live relatively close to a testing center that does free HIV testing (it's where I'll be getting my HIV test in four weeks because I'm a broke bitch). They have a full staff that educates the community on HIV and AIDS, and they set up several events to raise HIV awareness. I went there a few days ago to ask some questions. The entire staff there is very kind, patient, and helpful. However, I was speaking to the executive director, and I can't help but feel that some of her information might be a bit off. I certainly don't want to think of that being the case (she is the executive director of an organization that teaches about HIV), but so much of what she was telling me went against what I've researched (but then again, just because I've read it on the Internet doesn't make it accurate).

She told me that saliva doesn't do anything to hinder the virus, stomach acid doesn't kill it, and precum does have enough of the virus to pose a significant risk (even in oral sex) to spread the virus. She told me she received all of her education on HIV from the CDC. I guess what I'm wondering is, does the CDC really say that about those three topics, or is this woman just simply a bit outdated with her facts?

(Just as a side note, I don't really read a lot of the CDC's info because I think they're a bit vague. That's just my opinion.)

As always, I love reading your responses! You guys do a lot of good on this website, and I can't wait to hear back from you! Much love, everyone!

Offline Ann

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 05:35:27 AM »
Gon,

You might be tempted to say "TL:DR", but persevere anyway, ok?

It's the CDC that is ultra-conservative when it comes to hiv. The woman you spoke to was indeed parroting their party-line. Yeah, it sucks.

Hiv is a very fragile virus - good for us, bad for it. Its outer shell needs a very specific environment in order to remain intact and importantly - it needs this outer shell to be intact in order to infect.

The environment that hiv likes is found INSIDE the body - specifically inside the anus, vagina and the urethra in men. These are the points of the body where infection takes place.

Once outside the body, small changes in temperature, and pH and moisture levels all quickly damage the virus and render it unable to infect as I just talked about.

Before you say "but inside the mouth is inside..." - not only is saliva not infectious, but it also contains over a dozen different proteins and enzymes that damage hiv and render it unable to infect. I guess the CDC either didn't read the studies that showed us that, or they are willfully ignoring them.

Besides, not only is the mouth a chemically hostile environment for hiv, but the cells that hiv can latch onto and infect are not found in abundance in the mouth - unless you've got really bad oral health. And I mean bad like you should have had the intervention of a dentist a couple years ago and your gums are inflamed and your teeth are on the verge of falling out if they haven't already.

There have been three long-term studies of couples where one is positive and one is negative. In the couples who used condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, but no barrier for oral activities, not one of the negative partners became infected with hiv. Not one. Not all of the poz partners were on meds with an undetectable viral load either, just in case you were wondering.

You need to know that you are FAR more likely to end up with something like chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis from oral - either way (yes that means you can get them in your throat) - than you are hiv. In fact, you're more likely to win millions on the lottery than you are to become infected with hiv orally. Just brush regularly and see your dentist yearly.

You can have some of the other, MUCH more easily transmitted STIs like the ones I mentioned above and never notice a single symptom. Syphilis chancres (the sores you get in primary infection) are painless, so if you get one where you can't easily see it, you probably won't know it's there. And up to 80% of people never have any noticeable symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia either. The ONLY way to know if you've been infected with any of these is to test for them.

Regular STI testing is important - because if you have a pre-existing STI that you don't know about, you are making yourself more vulnerable to hiv infection. Some of the cells that hiv can infect will rush to the site of an infection and - well, do the math. Regular STI screening is important anyway - untreated STIs will lead to complications further down the line.

Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together.

To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex without a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

ALTHOUGH YOU DO NOT NEED TO TEST SPECIFICALLY OVER BLOWJOBS, anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results.

Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!

Ann
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 05:41:38 AM by Ann »
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Ann

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 05:54:39 AM »
Oh, and another thing. ;D

You ask "is oral sex 'safe sex'?"

Strictly speaking, the only "safe sex" is sex with your own hand - and even then if you do it too vigorously you might do yourself an injury.

What we sex educators prefer to talk about is "safer sex".

As I mentioned above, oral sex carries with it the risk of other STIs, notably gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes - and sometimes also chlamydia. So no, I wouldn't class oral as "safe" sex. Safer, absolutely.

It's up to you how much you worry about STIs while engaging in oral. As long as you get regular STI screenings, you really shouldn't worry too much if at all. These STIs are treatable. And remember - if you give oral, be sure to get a throat swab when you get your screenings done. Oral gonorrhea has been on the rise in MSM for a few years now.

Don't fret, have fun, and make regular STI screenings a part of your routine.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Gonville

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  • Posts: 7
Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 05:38:45 PM »
Hey Ann!!

Thank you for your very detailed response. You've certainly taught me much more than I would've learned from the CDC. I think it's a shame that there's so much inaccurate information on the web because it's quite obvious, reading these other posts, that even the smallest contradictions between two websites is a matter of life and death for some people.

I'm going to get a full sexual health care check up this summer. The last sexual encounter I had was in March. I think that's plenty of time to get accurate results? I honestly haven't done any research on anything other than HIV, but I'm sure that three months will give me solid results for any STD.

I very much expect that my results will be negative. I can keep y'all posted! But you guys have really reassured me about the risks and have eliminated a lot of unneeded stress in my life, and for that I thank you!

As always, I love the work you guys do on here! Much, much love, everyone!


Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 01:09:16 AM »
Gon,

Most of the other STIs can be tested for ten days to two weeks following a possible exposure, but syphilis shares a three month testing window with hiv for a conclusive negative result. You can test for other STIs a little earlier if you develop a symptom such as a penile discharge or a noticeable sore (the sore can be swabbed).

Your testing plan sounds good - just be sure you make it the first of many routine sexual health appointments. You owe it to yourself - and your sexual partners as well.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Gonville

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 10:48:01 PM »
How accurate is the OraQuick rapid HIV test after four weeks? If people can get almost 100% accurate test results after six weeks, if four weeks really that much of a difference?

Basically, if I choose to go in and get tested this next week (4 weeks after sucking dick), and the test is negative, can I breathe a little easier? How likely is a four week negative to change?

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 06:27:00 AM »
Gon,

We recommend waiting to test until six weeks after an actual risk, and confirming at three months. Four weeks is a very good indication, but six weeks is much less likely to change. It's up to you.

But as you were told, you don't really need to test specifically over a blowjob anyway. As long as you haven't been engaging in any unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse that you neglected to mention, then you're going to get a negative result no matter when you test.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Gonville

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  • Posts: 7
Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2012, 08:02:08 PM »
My six weeks HIV test came back negative today! The man who gave me my results told me that, based off of what I did, I really didn't need to come back and test again, so I'm not. Also, since you all tell me I wasn't at risk to begin with, I think I'll just leave this six week negative as it is. Thank you, Ann and Matty, for your helpful advice! Just thought I'd share the good news with y'all!

Much love, everyone!!!

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2012, 08:04:41 PM »
My six weeks HIV test came back negative today! The man who gave me my results told me that, based off of what I did, I really didn't need to come back and test again, so I'm not. Also, since you all tell me I wasn't at risk to begin with, I think I'll just leave this six week negative as it is. Thank you, Ann and Matty, for your helpful advice! Just thought I'd share the good news with y'all!

Much love, everyone!!!

Great to hear that good, if not unexpected, news :)
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Gonville

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 01:19:09 PM »
Hey!!

I scheduled a full STD screening to be done in June (the end of the 3 month period). It includes an HIV test, so I guess I will be testing again, but mainly it was for all the other STDs (except herpes...I was told it was too expensive so they're not testing me for it???). I got to speak to the woman who schedules all the STI screenings, and I was told it could take up to twelve months for a person to produce enough HIV antibodies, so they recommend people testing at 3, 6, and 12 months. I've heard of a six month window period, but a twelve month one? Is this accurate? Has there ever been a case of someone taking a year to produce detectable antibodies? Also, when does a person need to retest at six months?

This bitch kind of got me worried again....  >:(

Hoping you can help! Much love, everybody!!

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 01:33:10 PM »
For anyone to talk about testing up to 12 months indicates to me a profound lack of knowledge about HIV.

Three months has long been accepted by the CDC as a solid testing point. And they are quite conservative generally. The exceptions to testing out to 6 months are situations which involve longterm intravenous drug use, organ transplant or treatment for a serious illness such as cancer.

Otherwise all generations of tests currently in use will give a reliable result at 3 months.

Andy Velez

Offline Gonville

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2012, 10:44:08 AM »
If smoking cigarettes affects the immune system, then does it affect the duration of the window period as well?

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: So...is oral sex "safe sex?"
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2012, 04:08:10 PM »
If smoking cigarettes affects the immune system, then does it affect the duration of the window period as well?

No. Cigarette smoking has no impact on the HIV testing window period.

MtD

 


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