Score one more
blowjobs in the endless "Is oral sex
safe?" debate. "In terms of HIV, [giving and getting]
oral sex is...very, very, very low risk,"
wrote San Francisco STD-prevention head Jeffrey Klausner, MD, in his December
"Ask Dr. K" safe-sex column on the
San Fran City Clinic's website (www.dph.sf.ca.us/sfcityclinic). He supported this sucker's punch by citing a new
study he coauthored that "found zero new HIV
infections" among oral-sex-only Frisco
men. Klausner's "very, very, very low," of course, flies
in the face of prevention officialdom's line that oral sex is less
risky than anal, but still a risk.
The study, published last November in the journal AIDS, HIV-tested 239 men who claimed
to have been exclusively oral in the past six
months; all were found to be HIV negative, even though one-third said they took semen in their mouths, one-quarter said they
swallowed, and over a fifth reported giving
uncovered head to partners they knew were positive. These results echo a
recent Spanish finding of zero HIV infections after 19,000 reported acts of
oral sex between 137 mixed-status couples.
That's a bounty
of blowjobs - did people just get lucky
every time? No way, according to Klausner, who says saliva likely helps
But Cornell University's Brian Boyle, MD, cautions that these studies
are too small to rule out risk: "The condom is like the seat belt of
oral sex. Your chances of getting in an accident are low, but you still
want to wear it." Still, public-health
pooh-bah Klausner is as official as it gets. "Enjoy oral sex," he advised readers, mindful, no doubt, that STD rates are rising at an alarming
rate, meaning that unsafe anal sex is, too.