Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on August 12, 2011

Could I catch HIV by giving someone a blowjob?

I’m a teenager and I’m starting to wonder about my risks. I know you can get HIV through blood, but can you also get it through sexual fluids? For example, could I get HIV by giving someone a blowjob?

answered by Daniel Perlman, MD, MBA on August 12, 2011

First, let me commend you for asking questions and taking an interest in your sexual health in your teen years. Being aware of your risks and practicing safer sex will help you live a longer, healthier, happier life. Before you have sex, I encourage you to visit your doctor for a physical exam and to discuss birth control and safer sex measures.  

Now, to answer your questions…

Yes, you can get STDs, including HIV, from unprotected oral sex…like a blowjob. Whenever you have sex oral, anal or vaginal you should always practice safer sex by using a condom or a dental dam. A condom, placed over the penis, or a dental dam, placed over the vagina or anus during oral stimulation (by mouth), act as a barrier between you and possible STDs.

In particular, HIV can be transmitted through unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex when the blood, semen or vaginal secretions of an infected partner enter your body. In rare cases, you can also get HIV from blood transfusions, or by sharing needles or syringes that are contaminated with infected blood.

The good news is that HIV and other STDs are treatable…some STDs are even curable. So even if you do eventually test positive for an STD, know that there are options for you…and that you can still enjoy a long, happy and healthful life.

How else can you protect yourself from STDs? Not having sex is the only way to be truly safe from STDs. But if you are sexually active, being monogamous (having sex with only one partner) can greatly reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection. And every time you have a new partner, both of you can get tested for for HIV and other STDs before you have any sexual activity…it’s important that you know each other’s STD status.

And if one or both of you tests positive for an STD, the sooner you get treated, the better. Early detection is key to avoiding potential complications from untreated STDs down the road.

To learn more about STD risks and prevention, I encourage you to read through our Expert Guide to STD Basics. You’ll also find detailed information about HIV risks, symptoms, testing and treatment in our HIV Guide.

I wish you good luck and good health…today and in your future!

Related info:

Daniel Perlman, MD, MBA

Dr. Perlman is a Colorado-based infectious disease specialist (including HIV and other STDs) in private practice at Greater Denver Infectious Diseases. Additionally, he is Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Perlman was educated at theUniversity of Maryland School of Medicine, and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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