Anonymous
I recently had oral sex with a person of unknown health. I performed extensive cunnilingus after which realizing I had bleeding gums. I now seem to be very symptomatic. I have read other post and I am not sure anyone asked specifically about having bleeding gums while performing cunnilingus and the likelihood of transmission.

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Anonymous
Hi there and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. My name is Colin and I am happy to answer your questions today.

Right away I can tell you that performing oral sex (in this case, cunnilingus) is considered a low risk activity. That means that while there have been a few confirmed transmissions via this method, they have happened under identifiable conditions such as the presence of a high viral load of HIV *AND* significant, uncontrolled bleeding or injury to both your mouth and your partner's genitals, etc. For there to be a successful transmission of HIV, there must first be HIV present. Next there must be an exchange of bodily fluids with direct access to the bloodstream. Additionally, and important in your exposure, when we are discussion transmission via cut or injury, the injury must be very severe. The rule of thumb is that if the injury is not actively bleeding and requiring medical attention and/or stitches, it is not severe enough to act as a viable route of entry for HIV. Just as a reference, the only confirmed cases of HIV transmission via injury or wounds have occurred during knife fights where there is significant traumatic fluid exchange. If this doesn't sound like the conditions during your exposure, you can consider the risk to be very low.

In terms of any symptoms you've been experiencing, while it is true that some people do experience flu-like symptoms during their [seroconversion](http://www.aidsmap.com/Seroconversion/page/1322973/), these symptoms are common to many viral infections and do not manifest in every person living with HIV. Because of this, there are no symptoms used in the diagnosis of HIV and the only way to be sure of your status is to take an appropriate test at the right time. If you are in Canada or the USA, I would recommend checking out [ASO411](https://aso411.ca/) or the [CDC's Get Tested website](https://gettested.cdc.gov/) respectively to find the best resources in your area.

I hope I've managed to answer your question today. Please feel free to post again if you'd like any more information or clarification.

All the best,

Colin

AIDS Vancouver Helpline
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