The truth about STIs and Oral Sex

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Many people still believe that sexually transmitted infections cannot be spread unless you have penetrative vaginal or anal sex. However, such infections can indeed be spread through oral sex too.

The only sure way of reducing the risk of contracting an STI is to use a condom, dental dam or other barrier each and every time you engage in oral sex with your partner.

So, what is Oral Sex?

Oral sex is the act of using your mouth, tongue or lips to either stimulate the penis, in what’s known as fellatio or the vagina, in what’s known as cunnilingus. It can also involve the oral stimulation of the anus, known as anilingus.

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Can STIs be spread through doing this?

Many sexually transmitted infections, and other infections can be spread through oral sex. Anyone who is sexually active with an infected partner can contract an infection in their throat, mouth, rectum or genitals. The risk factor of contracting an infection through oral sex is dependent on the following factors:

  • The type of sexually transmitted infection involved
  • How common the infection is in the population where the sexual partners live
  • How many sex acts are performed

Some infections can be contracted in the mouth or throat from partaking in oral sex with a partner who has an infected vagina, anus or penis. It can work the other way too, with someone contracting an infection on the penis (and less often the anus or vagina) from receiving oral sex from a partner with a throat or mouth infection.

It is also possible to have such an infection in more than one area at the same time, for example in your throat and your genitals. A number of specific STIs can then spread around the body of the person infected.

Even if you or your partner show no symptoms, an infection can still be spread between partners. You can be infected for a long time with no signs or symptoms which is why it’s so important to get yourself checked. For Home STI kits London, visit www.bexleysexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits

Here are some of the STIs that can be spread through oral sex:

Gonorrhoea

Chlamydia

Syphilis

HIV

Herpes

HPV

Trichomoniasis

Chlamydia is a very common infection that often goes undetected for a long time due to a lack of symptoms. Most infections in the throat also have no symptoms initially. When symptoms do appear, they usually include a sore throat. Genital symptoms can include an unusual discharge, burning on urination, swollen or sore testicles or rectal discharge.

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Thankfully, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. The partners of anyone diagnosed should also be tested for the infection and partners should refrain from sexual activity until each has finished treatment.

The dangers of leaving an infection untreated are that the infections can be spread to uninfected partners, especially through oral sex on a male partner’s penis. Long-term health problems can arise if an infection is left untreated for a long time.

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