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Oral Dis. 2000 Mar;6(2):92-8.

HIV topic update: oro-genital transmission of HIV.

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Eastman Dental Institute for Oral Health Care Sciences, University College London, University of London, 256, Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LD, UK.


Several viruses, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), can be found in blood and many body fluids including saliva, and are transmissible sexually across genital and particularly anal mucosae. A persisting concern has been the question of transmission of HIV by oral sexual practices. This review discusses the evidence for oro-genital transmission of HIV, detailing the presence and infectivity of HIV in genital fluids and saliva, the case reports and epidemiology of oro-genital HIV transmission, and the evidence from animal studies. Oral intercourse is not risk-free. The evidence suggests that the risk of HIV transmission from oro-genital sexual practices is substantially lower than that from penile-vaginal or penile-anal intercourse, that exposure to saliva presents a considerably lower risk than exposure to semen, and that oral trauma and ulcerative conditions might increase the risk of HIV transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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