Whether you had the most romantic Valentine’s Day with your beau, or you are heading out for the post-Valentine’s-Day-pull this weekend, your sexual health should be in your top list of priorities. Despite driving the super Gonorrhoea epidemic, most people believe oral sex is ‘safe sex’ and that it is a safer alternative to intercourse.

This is, of course, not the case. A definite answer cannot be provided for which type of sex is safer than another. Certain STIs can be passed on just as easily during oral sex as vaginal sex. Genital Herpes and Gonorrhoea are amongst the most common infections to be spread through oral sex. A dental dam or a condom will help prevent the oral transmission of various sexually transmitted infections.

Throat infections act as a silent reservoir. Emilie Alirol, Head of the sexually transmitted infections programme at the Global Antibiotics Research and Development Partnership.

Oral sex is the act of stimulating your partner’s genitals with your mouth. This includes the penis, vagina, or the anal region. Infection can occur through skin-to-skin contact, as well as contact with infected bodily fluids. Especially if there are openings in the skin that enable the bacteria or viruses to enter your system. This means if you or your partner have any cuts, sores, ulcers, bleeding gums or other breaks in the skin, it increases the chances of STI transmission during oral sex.

Sexually transmitted infections can be passed on through oral sex, even if you or your partner are not experiencing any symptoms. So, you could be infected and not know it. If you catch Herpes, you might not suffer from an outbreak until years later – or when you are feeling a little fragile in the winter months and your immune system can no longer keep the virus at bay.

Oral STI Symptoms

As mentioned above, signs of an infection may not always be present. If you do experience any symptoms of an oral STI, these can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Blisters around the lips or in the mouth
  • Tonsillitis
  • Redness with white spots that can look like strep throat

Even when oral infections are identified, they can still be difficult to treat. This is because antibiotics are delivered into the bloodstream, but there are not that many blood vessels in your throat compared to your genitals. Early detection is key to combat oral STIs, which means you should get tested regularly.

Untreated STIs in the throat can be easily spread to the genitals of other sexual partners. Genital infections cause men to suffer from testicular or pelvic pain and women could experience health complications such as infertility, ectopic pregnancies and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Bacteria and viruses are not particularly selective when it comes to infecting either the genitals or the throat. Both areas offer a good environment for these organisms to enter the body and multiply. The only way to reduce the risk of infection is to use protection; either condoms or dental dams and for you and your partners to get tested regularly. Mike Asher, Co-Founder of Better2Know

Please contact Better2Know today to book your test for Oral STIs.

Sources

[1] Avert: How to have oral sex

[2] Colgate: STDs of the mouth and how to avoid them

[3] The Independent: How the throat acts as a silent reservoir for Gonorrhoea

[4] Medical News Today: What STIs can you get from oral sex?

[5] Sexwise (FPA): Oral sex and sexually transmitted infections

[6] STDcheck Blog: Is oral sex safe? Which STDs are possible?

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