UK Researchers: HIV Transmissible Via Oral Sex

LONDON-British health officials are warning that HIV risks from oral sex are higher than previously thought. A new study shows as many as 8% of men who have sex with men who are infected with HIV contracted the disease through oral sex.

Although oral sex carries a much lower HIV risk than vaginal or anal intercourse, it can still be a method of transmission of AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea. A recent outbreak of syphilis in Brighton, Bristol, London, and Manchester was rooted in unprotected oral sex.

The Department of Health in the UK will now being an educational campaign to inform the public of this risk. An AIDS booklet is being circulated stating "the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections can be reduced by using a condom for all forms of penetrative sex, including oral sex. If a condom is not used, avoiding ejaculation into the mouth probably lessens (but does not eliminate) the risk of HIV transmission."

The Terrence Higgins Trust is also starting an advertising campaign in the gay press to educate about the health risks surrounding oral sex.

Source: Reuters Health