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Dr. Patricia Shelton

Jul 06, 20227 min read

AIDS and Oral Sex

The information provided herein does not constitute an expert or medical advice, nor intended to replace such advice.


HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be transmitted through sexual contact. Anal sex is the riskiest activity, followed by vaginal intercourse. Oral sex also has the potential to transmit the virus, although the risk is much lower.

What do you need to know about the possibility of getting HIV/AIDS via oral? What’s the unprotected oral HIV risk? Here are the answers to come common questions that we get about HIV/AIDS and oral sex.

Can a woman get HIV from receiving oral?

HIV is not known to be transmitted through saliva. Because of this, receiving oral sex is a very low-risk activity. The only way to get HIV/AIDS from receiving oral sex would be if the partner who is performing oral sex had bleeding gums or other sores in the mouth. If some of that partner’s blood makes contact with the woman’s genitals, then it would be possible for her to get HIV from receiving oral sex. However, it’s generally considered safe for a woman to receive oral sex.

While the risk of HIV transmission is low, there are other STDs (such as herpes) that a woman can definitely acquire by receiving oral sex. Using a dental dam helps to make receiving oral sex safer for a woman.

Can a man get HIV from receiving oral?

Similarly, it’s unlikely that as the receiving partner, a man will get HIV from oral. Saliva doesn’t contain enough of the virus to transmit it, so a man is unlikely to get HIV/AIDS from a blowjob. If the partner performing the oral sex has bleeding gums or other sores in the mouth, then that partner’s blood could potentially transmit the virus to the man receiving the oral sex, but the receiving partner is usually safe during oral sex.

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Can a woman get HIV from giving a man oral?

Giving oral sex to a man is generally the riskiest oral sex activity. This is because when you give a man unprotected oral sex, then you will almost always get significant amounts of semen in your mouth. In a man who’s infected with HIV, semen contains high levels of the virus. However, if the partner performing the oral sex doesn’t have any sores in their mouth, then the chances of getting HIV from a blowjob are still low. Sores in the mouth can give the virus a way to get into the bloodstream, so they increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Condoms greatly decrease the risk of getting HIV when giving oral sex to a man. It’s important that he puts on the condom before his penis goes into your mouth. Although semen contains a high level of HIV, there is also HIV in preejaculatory fluid, also known as precum (the clear fluid that comes out after the penis gets hard but before ejaculation). This is why the condom should go on before you put his penis in your mouth.

Can a man get HIV from giving a man oral?

The gender of the partner performing the oral sex is not relevant in terms of HIV transmission, so the risk that a man will get HIV from giving oral to a male partner is the same as for a woman doing the same thing.

Can a man get HIV from giving a woman oral?

The risk of getting HIV from performing oral sex on a woman is lower than for performing it on a man. This is because fellatio generally results in getting a significant volume of semen in the mouth. By contrast, while performing cunnilingus generally does involve getting the woman’s sexual fluids in the mouth, the amount of this fluid is much lower. This makes it less risky to perform oral sex on a woman.

The one exception to this is if he performs oral sex on her during her period. Then he will most likely be getting quite a bit of her blood in his mouth, which increases the chances of getting HIV from her.

Although the risk of getting HIV from giving a woman oral is not very high, this doesn’t mean that it’s zero. It’s still safest to use a dental dam to prevent transmission of HIV as well as other diseases during cunnilingus.

Can a woman get HIV from giving a woman oral?

Just as with fellatio, the chances of getting HIV from cunnilingus are not changed by the gender of the partner who’s performing it. Performing oral sex on a woman is a low-risk activity no matter who is doing it. A woman has a low risk of getting HIV when she performs oral sex on a female partner, although if the receiving partner is currently menstruating, then this risk does increase. 

How can you know if you got HIV from oral sex?

When it comes to getting HIV/AIDS from oral, chances depend on the genders of the giving and receiving partners. Oral sex is a low-risk activity, and is unlikely to transmit the virus. However, there is still a chance of getting HIV from oral sex. If you believe that you might have been exposed to HIV through oral sex, it’s a good idea to get tested to be sure that you didn’t acquire an HIV infection. You may also want to be tested for other STDs at the same time. You can go to a clinic, or get a home STD test kit.

Keep in mind that there’s a “window period” after exposure to HIV, when the infection won’t show up on a test yet. This is because of the time it takes for the virus to establish an infection and for the body to respond. The window period is different for different types of HIV test. In general, if you’ve had a known exposure to HIV, you need to wait up to three months before you test in order to be sure about the results.

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Can HIV be transmitted through oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus)? National Health Service. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/sexual-health/can-hiv-be-transmitted-through-oral-sex-fellatio-and-cunnilingus/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Oral Sex and HIV Risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/risk/cdc-hiv-oral-sex-fact-sheet.pdf. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Ways HIV Can Be Transmitted. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-transmission/ways-people-get-hiv.html. Accessed 9 May 2022.

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