Oral Sex and STDs..Am I safe or not?

If you are someone who engages in oral sex often and you’re concerned about STD transmission, you may want to continue reading till the end.

So what is oral sex?

Oral sex involves using the mouth to stimulate the genitals or genital area of a sex partner. Types of oral sex include the penis, vagina, and anus. Many STDs and other infections are spread through oral sex. Anyone exposed to an infected partner can get an STD in the mouth, throat, genitals, or rectum. The risk of getting an STD or spreading an STD to others through oral sex depends on several things, including the particular STD, type of sex, and number of sex acts performed.

Here are some possible scenarios:

There is a possibility to get certain STDs in the mouth or throat after giving oral sex to a partner who has a genital or anal/rectal STD.

It is possible to get  STDs on the genitals after receiving oral sex from a partner with a mouth or throat infection.

It is also possible to have an STD in more than one area at the same time. For example, you can have an STD in the throat and the genitals.

Several STDs (i.e., syphilis, gonorrhea, and intestinal infections) that are transmitted by oral sex can spread in the body.

Oral sex involving the anus (or anilingus) can transmit hepatitis A and B. It also can transmit intestinal parasites like Giardia and bacteria like E.coli and Shigella.

If you have an STD, you might not know it because many STDs are asymptomatic. It is possible to spread STDs even when you don’t have any signs or symptoms.

How to reduce your risks of getting STDs?

a) For oral sex on the penis:

Cover the penis with a non-lubricated latex condom.

Use plastic (polyurethane) condoms if you or your partner is allergic to latex.

b) For oral sex on the vagina or anus:

– Use a dental dam.

– Cut open a condom to make a square and put it between your mouth and your partner’s   vagina or anus.

– The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

What about oral sex and HIV risks?

According to Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the chances of a HIV-negative person to get HIV from oral sex with a HIV-positive partner is extremely low. However, it is hard to know the exact percentage of risk because a lot of people who have oral sex also have anal or vaginal sex. The type of oral sex that may be the riskiest is mouth-to-penis oral sex.

Though the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is low, several factors may increase that risk, including sores in the mouth or vagina or on the penis, bleeding gums, oral contact with menstrual blood, and the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

How to reduce your risk of getting HIV by oral sex?

Here’s how..

The risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is even lower if the HIV-negative partner is taking medicine to prevent HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP). This medications is backed by years worth of research and is proven to prevent HIV -provided it is taken as advised by your doctor.

Individuals can further reduce the risk of HIV transmission from oral sex by keeping their male partners from ejaculating in their mouth.  Using a barrier like a condom or dental dam during oral sex can further reduce the risk of transmitting HIV,other STDs, and hepatitis. A dental dam is a thin, square piece of latex or silicone that is placed over thevagina or anus during oral sex. A latex condom can also be cut length-wise and used like a dental dam.

It’s important to remember that many people with an STD may be unaware of their infection. STDs often have no symptoms and are unrecognized.

If you are uncertain if you are at risk or not, try speaking to your helthcare provider to understand your situation better.

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