anonymous on September 2, 2011

What is my HIV risk from oral sex and mutual masturbation?

I am a gay male who has been tested and is HIV-negative. I have not been sexually active, but a few weeks ago I allowed another man to give me oral sex. I did not have an open sore or cut, nor was any blood present. Following this, we masturbated. My question is this: the other guy ejaculated. After that, I got a towel and cleaned up. I’m worried that some ejaculate might have been on my hand and maybe my hand touched my mouth. I’ve been told that HIV dies quickly when exposed to air. Is this correct?

answered by Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM on September 2, 2011


I understand your concerns, and I think I can help clear up some of your questions.

Can you get HIV from oral sex? Yes, it’s possible to get HIV from oral sex, even if there are no sores or cuts in the mouth or on the penis. Oral sex is less risky than anal sex…but there’s still some risk. Every time you have oral sex, you should use a latex condom.

Even better, in future, know the status of your partner before you have sex. Going together to get tested can put both your minds at ease. Or, if one or both of you have an STD, you can get the treatment you need right away. The earlier you catch and treat HIV and other STDs, the healthier you’ll be – reducing your risk of potential complications from untreated STDs down the road.

What about touching sexual fluids? You’re right: HIV can’t survive for long outside the human body. It’s unlikely that you’ll get the virus from touching ejaculate. However, there are other STDs, like herpes, that spread easily through skin-to-skin contact or others like chlamydia that spread through genital fluids.

If you have not been tested for other STDs, I encourage you to do so. Kudos for getting tested for HIV, but it’s also a good idea to get tested for others like herpes 1 & 2, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C.

Remember, STDs can be spread in a variety of ways…including oral sex and sometimes deep kissing. And many STDs don’t have symptoms for years. That’s why it’s so important to get tested – it’s the only way to know your STD status for sure.

If you’re are going to continue having sex, make sure to protect yourself and your partner by always using a condom during oral sex, a dental dam anytime your mouth is near your partner’s anus, and a condom with plenty of lubricant during anal sex.

For more information about HIV risks, prevention, symptoms, testing and treatment, see our Expert Guide to HIV.

Thanks for your question. I wish you good health.

Related info:


Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM

Dr. Christoff is a practicing physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. His areas of expertise include the treatment of HIV and syphilis along with other STDs, the medical treatment of depression and chronic fatigue, and the specific health needs of gay and lesbian patients. Dr. Christoff was educated at the University of Toledo, College of Medicine and completed his residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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