Risk of Contracting HIV Through Oral Sex Could be Greater Than Previously Believed
The risk of contracting HIV through oral sex "may be greater than previously thought," new research from Britain's Public Health Laboratory Service reveals, BBC News reports. A new report by British and American researchers shows that oral sex may account for up to 8% of HIV infections (BBC News, 7/4). "Instead of a handful of cases a year in the United Kingdom of HIV being transmitted through oral sex, we are seeing 30 to 50," Dr. Barry Evans, a PHLS official specializing in sexually transmitted diseases, said (Belfast News Letter, 7/5). However, Evans "stressed" that HIV is still transmitted primarily through anal and vaginal sex. BBC News reports that "anecdotal evidence" from some countries suggests that "people tend to reject messages advising them always to use condoms for oral sex" and that "such messages can ... put people off condom use altogether." The PHLS report concludes that "it is important for people to be more aware of the dangers and decide for themselves the level of risk they consider acceptable." The Terrence Higgins Trust, a British AIDS charity, has launched a six-week advertising campaign aimed at informing gay men of the risks of oral sex (BBC News, 7/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.