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A Gay Man Speaks Out: Is Oral Sex Safe Sex?

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Cass Mann is one of the world's longest-term HIV-positive diagnosed gay men, now in his third decade of living with HIV, and the founder of UK's only gay men's HIV/AIDS charity Positively Healthy, which provides HIV services including education, support, and peer counselling.

Here Cass talks about the risks of oral sex. Oral sex, known as "giving head" or "blow jobs," can transmit HIV, syphilis, and other STIs. Syphilis together with HIV is a killer combination. Remember that dementia is a possible end-stage complication of both syphilis and HIV. If you have unprotected sex, you're risking syphilis, HIV, gonorrhoea, and whatever other diseases your partner has in their system. However, it's difficult to get gay men to use condoms for oral sex because people consider the risk much lower than anal sex.

It's true that the risk of HIV transmission via oral sex is lower than the risk of HIV transmission via anal sex, but the risk isn't zero, and the risk isn't only of HIV transmission. Remember that your partner might have had sex, including anal sex, with other partners immediately before you have oral sex with them, especially in the context of dark rooms, back rooms and parks. Oral sex is most definitely not safer sex. Use a condom if you choose to have oral sex, as difficult as you may initially consider this to be.

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A Gay Man Speaks Out: Is Oral Sex Safe Sex?

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