WOMEN and men about to have oral sex should not brush their teeth or floss before the act. This Lecelle Brown, outreach officer from the Ministry of Health said could lead to the acquisition of the HIV virus if the other party is infected.
"We recommend that persons about to do oral sex not brush or floss before they perform oral sex as this leaves bruises inside the mouth through which the virus can pass," Brown said.
Brown, who was one of the counsellors at the HIV/AIDS testing held at the Jamaica Observer's Beechwood Avenue offices last Wednesday, a day before the recognition of World AIDS Day, said the bruises to the gums caused by brushing leaves it vulnerable for the virus to enter the bloodstream. Flossing also often results in open wounds, which could also lead to the acquisition of the virus.
"Even if you are not feeling or tasting any blood inside the mouth, that does not mean there is no opening -- there can still be an opening that you are unaware of," Brown explained.
She also reminded persons that the HIV virus can also be transferred through kissing, again if there are bruises inside the mouth. Other methods are through oral, anal and vaginal sex.
Precautionary measures that can be taken:
* Use a soft toothbrush when brushing.
* While no recommended time is specified, some dentists suggest brushing hours before performing oral sex or kissing.
* Eating fresh fruits before lovemaking will do wonders in freshening the breath and cleaning the mouth, thus eliminating the need to brush and floss.
* Use mouthwash prior to performing oral sex or kissing instead of brushing and flossing.
* Ensure that your partner is HIV negative before getting sexually involved.
* Ensure that you are HIV negative before any sexual contact.
* Stick to one faithful sex partner.