A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control
Hello BCCDC! I'm male, straight. I have scanned your answers for my question and I'm more confused than I originally was. I always use condoms for vaginal sex, but enjoy going down on women. I don't want to expose myself, primarily to HIV. At some point you say it's safe, and sometimes you say it's not. I want to know if its really safe or not. I never even heard of dental dams until recently. I'm guessing it's because they don't matter much when it comes to HIV?


Sorry for the confusion around this information. HIV is not commonly passed to the person giving oral sex. This means we don't usually see this as a way that HIV is passed, but it is possible to get HIV given the right conditions. 

Usually HIV does not live in the mouth because enzymes in the saliva inhibit or kill the virus. When giving oral sex, vaginal fluids or blood could get into the mouth. If the person giving oral sex has bleeding gums, open areas in or around the mouth or has had recent dental work or tooth extraction, and there was enough blood present then HIV could be passed on. The risk would be higher when a woman is menstruating.

Dental dams or a condom cut longwise are barriers than can be used to lower risk.

You might want to check out "Know Your Chances" to get more information about ways of having sex and the chances of getting an STI.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.



This answer was posted on December 24, 2013

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