Oral sex is an increasingly common practice among couples and is mistakenly considered to be risk-free and safe alternative to penetrative intercourse. But did you know that this pleasurable act can sometime be the cause of various sexually transmitted infections. These diseases can spread from person to person directly or via blood through bleeding gums, sores, cuts, and bruises on mouth or the genitals.
Oral sex involves the giving or receiving of sexual stimulation using the mouth on the penis (fellatio), vagina (cunnilingus) or anus (analingus). Though the likelihood of passing on sexually transmitted infections is much lower than penetrative sex, people can still get infected through cuts, sores, bruises, saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. There are several diseases that can directly or indirectly pass on during oral sex, some of which are listed below:
Herpes simplex is by far the most common STD that can be transmitted via oral sex. There are two types of herpes; HSV type 1 and HSV type 2. HSV-1 is commonly seen in lips (cold sores) and HSV-2 in genitals. During oral sex HSV-1 can be transmitted to genital but genital to lips transmission of HSV-2 is quite rare but not impossible.
Gonorrhea is another common disease that can easily be transmitted via oral sex. Gonorrhea is usually passed from infected genitals to individual’s throat and also can pass from infected throat to the genitals. When diagnosed early gonorrhea can be easily treated and cured.
Syphilis sores can be on the genitals as well as in the mouth. So, if you receive or give oral sex with individual having syphilitic lesions you may exposed yourself to syphilis. It is not necessary that you see the syphilitic lesions; some sores may not be noticeable. Be safe, use condoms even during oral pleasure if you suspect something. Syphilis can be easily treated in early stage.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women but can be easily cured. If untreated, it can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system making her impossible to conceive. Chlamydia can infect the throat via oral sex, although this is thought to be uncommon. People with chlamydia may not have any symptoms and may not be aware they are infected.
Although not quite common, but it is still possible for the human papillomavirus, which causes genital warts, to be transmitted through oral sex
HIV transmission through oral sex alone is very rare, but there is risk when one has sores, cuts or other sexually transmitted disease on their genitals or in their mouth. However, HIV in saliva alone does not pose a risk to a healthy individual.
Hepatitis B virus can be present in sexual fluids or blood and can easily transmitted through sores, cuts and bruises.
Hepatitis C virus only present in blood and will only be transmitted if there is blood during oral sex.
1.Centers for disease control and prevention. Transmission of Primary and Secondary Syphilis by Oral Sex — Chicago, Illinois, 1998—2002. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2004; 53:966
2.DEL ROMERO et al. (2002) ‘Evaluating the risk of HIV transmission through unprotected orogenital sex’, AIDS, Vol.16, p. 1296-1297