Americans really want to know their HIV risk during fellatio—even more so than during anal sex.
Sure, you can Google the subject, but the results may further confuse and scare you.
Searching for more information about your personal risk for HIV infection?
If you’re in New York’s Hudson Valley region, talk to our Regional Prevention Initiative about testing, individual counseling sessions or information sessions near you.
And if an HIV-negative person bottoms for an HIV-positive top who doesn’t use any protection but does ejaculate inside, the chances of HIV transmission are, on average, less than 2 percent. If the guy pulls out before ejaculation, then the odds are 1 out of 154. Is HIV really this hard to transmit, especially in light of the alarming statistics we are bombarded with?
Although the CDC estimates that nearly 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV and that the rate of new infections remains stable at about 50,000 per year, there has been a 12 percent increase between 20 among men who have sex with men (MSM)—including a 22 percent jump among young MSM ages 13 to 24.
At this time, viral load skyrockets, increasing a person’s infectiousness by as much as 26 times (the same thing as saying “26-fold”).
So right there, the per-act risk of receptive vaginal transmission jumps from 1 out of 1,250 exposures to 1 out of 50 exposures, and the risk of receptive anal sex goes from 1 out of 70 to higher than 1 out of 3.
One such factor is acute infection, the period of six to 12 weeks after contracting the virus.For example, the average risk of contracting HIV through sharing a needle one time with an HIV-positive drug user is 0.67 percent, which can also be stated as 1 in 149 or, using the ratios the CDC prefers, 67 out of 10,000 exposures.The risk from giving a blowjob to an HIV-positive man not on treatment is at most 1 in 2,500 (or 0.04 percent per act).It’s also important to realize that during acute infection, the immune system has not yet created the antibodies that lower viral load, at least for a few years.HIV tests that rely on antibodies may give a false negative reading during an acute infection, also known as the “window period.” The presence of another sexually transmitted infection (STI)—even one without symptoms, such as gonorrhea in the throat or rectum—can raise HIV risk as much as 8 times, in part because STIs increase inflammation and thus the number of white blood cells that HIV targets.
A quick example: According to CDC data, 84 percent of HIV-positive women contract the virus through heterosexual contact.