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Man Reportedly Got AIDS Virus from Woman During Oral Sex

January 24, 1989

BOSTON (AP) _ A man reportedly contracted the AIDS virus by having oral sex with a prostitute, the first report in medical literature of woman-to-man transmission of the virus that way, a doctor said.

The case of a 60-year-old New England man is being reported in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine by two physicians from the Lahey Clinic Medical Center.

″I hope the message gets through, especially to younger people in high school and college, who cling to the belief that they’re all right if they don’t have intercourse,″ said Dr. Peter G. Spitzer.

Spitzer said the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus was the first of its kind to be documented.

The man who got the virus reportedly has been married for 30 years and has diabetes, which caused nerve damage that made him impotent. He told his doctors he had not had sex with his wife for years.

He said his only sexual contact in recent years was with a prostitute with whom he engaged only in fellatio and cunnilingus.

He said the woman used intravenous drugs in his presence. This suggested the possibility that she contracted the virus from sharing hypodermic needles rather than from sexual activity.

Spitzer said it is most likely that the virus was transmitted to the man through her vaginal secretions. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found the AIDS virus in vaginal fluids.

But studies have shown that saliva can contain small amounts of the virus, and it could have been transmitted through the prostitute’s saliva.

The man said he did not engage in deep kissing with the woman and that neither she nor he had sores on their mouths or genitals during their encounters over two years.

The two doctors from the Lahey Clinic did not seek out the prostitute because of state laws on the confidentiality of AIDS patients, Spitzer said.

″Ironically, if she had syphilis, state health authorities could trace her,″ he said.

Spitzer and co-author, Dr. Neil J. Weiner, wrote that ″public health education about safer sexual practices must not only advocate the use of barrier contraceptives such as condoms during vaginal and rectal intercourse, but also caution against the exchange of bodily fluids during other sexual practices, such as oral sex.″

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