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Ask the Experts

Question:

I have recently received oral sex from my girlfriend, who has been sleeping around about 2 to 3 times a week. All we did was oral sex without a condom.

Am I at risk of getting HIV? Should I be tested?

Answered by: Anke Ehrhardt

Since HIV/AIDS is a serious illness, it can be natural to be concerned about the possibility of infection. However, in general, HIV is not an easily transmitted virus. Although it is possible to transmit HIV to the partner who performs oral sex, it is nearly impossible for HIV transmission to occur to the receptive partner.

However, other sexually transmitted infections can be transmitted more easily, and thus you might consider making an appointment at an STI/HIV testing and counseling facility. (You can begin by visiting the website of your local health department.) You may also wish to include STI/HIV testing as a routine part of your health care check-ups.

To better acquaint yourself with misconceptions and realities concerning HIV transmission, you may wish to visit the HIV transmission section of the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/transmission.htm), which offers answers to commonly asked questions. You could also check the HIV transmission Q&A board at the comprehensive website The Body (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/index.html).

If you find that you are experiencing excessive, persistent, or unwarranted fears of HIV infection, please consult a qualified mental health care provider who can help you understand and address the underlying causes of your concerns.