Oral Sex Condom Call Rejected

Gay SexAUSTRALIA – Professor Chris Fairley, director of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, has denied calling for gay men to use condoms during oral sex to combat HIV. According to a Sydney Morning Herald report on September 8, Fairley urged gay men to use condoms during oral sex “until forming a regular relationship and both partners are tested” due to rising rates of gonorrhoea and syphilis, which increased the risk of contracting HIV.
The Herald report led New Zealand’s Gay Men’s Health organisation to reject Fairley’s apparent call.
“Gay Men’s Health doesn’t consider it realistic that men will use condoms for oral sex,” team co-ordinator Douglas Jenkin said in a media statement. “The risk of contracting HIV through oral sex is negligible … The advice given [by Fairley] reflects common policies in Australia and doesn’t apply here.”
However Fairley told SX that the Herald report “misrepresented” his position. “The risk of contracting HIV via oral sex is exceedingly low,” he said. “We do not recommend that gay men must use condoms in oral sex ‘until forming a regular relationship and both partners are tested’. In fact, the risk of contracting HIV via oral sex is so low as to be immeasurable.
“What I did say is that there’s been a rise in notifications of gonorrhoea and syphilis, and that having gonorrhoea and syphilis increases the risk of contracting HIV.”
Fairley said that while using condoms during oral sex was “safer” than not using them, oral sex was only considered a risk if there were “obvious cuts, sores, ulcers or lesions” on, or in, the genitals or mouth. He said that in all other cases it was an individual choice whether to use condoms or not, based on one’s own assessment of the “exceedingly low risk”.
Fairley’s comments to SX were echoed by other experts in the HIV/AIDS field.
Stevie Clayton , CEO of the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON), said that ACON did not advocate the use of condoms in oral sex to counteract HIV.
“Our position is that while oral sex is not a no-risk activity for HIV, it is an extremely low risk, so we do not pursue a policy of recommending that all gay men use condoms for oral sex,” Clayton told SX.
“It’s not a call that gay men have generally heeded and it’s something that most gay men see as unrealistic. It’s like saying that abstinence is an effective method of combating HIV – it’s not a realistic ask.”
A spokesperson for the Sydney Sexual Health Centre said that its guidelines stipulated that, “receiving oral sex is considered safe for HIV, but not for STIs such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and herpes. We recommend that when giving oral sex, the mouth is healthy, with no cuts and ulcers, and that there is no ejaculation into the mouth. If a client wants to reduce the risk further, then condoms or dental dams can be used”.
from SX News

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