The 7 STDs You Can Catch From Oral Sex

Hi ho! Oh no. It’s to the clinic we go. Despite our sex smarts, it’s amazing how many of us are still completely unaware of the major risks unprotected oral sex. Here is a list of 7 STDs you can catch from oral sex.

Herpes

When it comes to oral sex, herpes simplex virus is the most commonly transmitted STD. There are two distinct types of herpes called HSV 1 and HSV 2. HSV 1 is responsible for sores around the mouth area, while HSV 2 is the cause of genital sores. Unfortunately, even when there are no symptoms present, it is still very possible to catch herpes from someone with either of these types of herpes. This is why a visual check for noticeable sores is not a sufficient way to avoid contracting the herpes virus. Herpes is a lifelong affliction which, as of now, cannot be cured. However, certain medications may be prescribed to help with recurrences. As with all STDs, using a protective barrier like a condom or a Lixx Dental Dam provides a safer means of enjoying oral sex while avoiding catching HSV 1 or HSV 2. If you are unsure of what to do with a dental dam, read up on proper usage techniques here.

HPV

HPV differs from other STDs in the sense that it is spread through skin to skin contact, rather than through the transfer of bodily fluids. HPV is also known as genital warts and it can easily be transmitted through oral sex. Some experts even speculate that HPV acquired through oral sex can lead to throat cancer, and that HPV can lead to cervical cancer in women. There is a HPV vaccine available for people between the ages of 18-26, which consists of a 3 shot regime, and has shown some promise in the prevention of this growing public health concern. However, no cure has been found and no vaccines are available for men, young teenagers or older women. As with all STDs, using a protective barrier like a condom or a dental dam provides a safer means of enjoying oral sex while avoiding catching HPV.

Gonorrhea

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Gonorrhea (a.k.a. “The Clap”) is an infection which is easily transmitted through oral sex and can cause a severe throat infection with symptoms such as: sore throat, yellow and white discharge, difficulty swallowing and red spots. Getting gonorrhea from oral sex can infect your whole body and will result in a genital outbreak as well. Medication for the treatment of gonorrhea is antibiotics, but many strains have become antibiotic resistant in the past few years. After initial treatment, it can take up to 4 months for gonorrhea to dissipate and is still contagious during this time. Since gonorrhea is located deep in the cervix of women, it is more likely for a woman to catch gonorrhea from giving a man oral sex than it is for a man to catch it from a woman. Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can lead to infertility. As with all STDs, using a protective barrier like a condom or a dental dam provides a safer means of enjoying oral sex while avoiding catching gonorrhea.

Chlamydia

With millions of new cases reported by the CDC each year, catching chlamydia from oral sex is not rare at all. Fortunately, it is curable with antibiotics, however it can take 2 weeks and you run a high risk of reinfection if your partner(s) is not treated at the same time as you. Symptoms include discharge from the genitals, cold like symptoms, sore throat, burning during urination, painful sex and testicular pain. Like gonorrhea, women are more likely to catch chlamydia from performing oral sex on men than men are from performing it on women. Left untreated, chlamydia (also known as “the silent infection”) can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women which can lead to infertility. As with all STDs, using a protective barrier like a condom or a dental dam provides a safer means of enjoying oral sex while avoiding catching chlamydia.

Syphilis

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Whether you prefer to go down on men or on women, it is extremely easy to catch syphilis from oral sex. Unlike herpes and HPV, syphilis is only contagious during symptomatic phases. Symptoms range from sores on the hands and feet, swollen lymph nodes, fever, hair loss, headaches, weight loss and exhaustion. If left untreated, syphilis can damage the brain and cause erratic and violent behavior. Late stages of syphilis include blindness, paralysis and death. As with all STDs, using a protective barrier like a condom or a dental dam provides a safer means of enjoying oral sex while avoiding catching the potentially deadly syphilis STD.

Hepatitis B

While not transmittable through mouth to genital contact, Hepatitis B is easily transferred through mouth to anal contact. It is also possible, though less likely, to catch Hepatitis A through the same way. Luckily, most people nowadays who live in 1st world nations are vaccinated for Hepatitis B. Nonetheless, if you tend to participate in anal to oral contact, ask your doctor for a Hepatitis A vaccine. As with all STDs, using a protective barrier like a dental dam provides a safer means of enjoying oral sex while avoiding catching Hepatitis.

HIV

Although HIV is well known for being transmittable during vaginal or anal sex, it is also possible to contract this deadly virus through oral sex as well. Risk of infection increases if cuts or sores are present in the mouth at the time of oral sex and risk also increases if ejaculate is taken into the mouth. Condoms and dental damn provide an effective line of defense from contracting this lifelong and incurable STD.

How to Stay Safe

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The best way to stay safe, without giving up on oral, is to use condoms or a dental dams. When you’re down to get your lick on, both of these protective products are available for purchase in various yummy fruit flavors. These tasty barriers allow you to still incorporate your sense of smell and taste into the act. So don’t be lured into putting that unprotected and potentially poisonous apple into your mouth. Catching an STD from oral could leave you feeling like your life is the “unfairest of them all.” Instead, simply use a safe and fun fruit flavored condom or dental dam each and every time for a safer oral experience!

[Source: CDC]

About Condom Depot

The Condom Depot Learning Center provides free safer sex ed and has recently been resourced by Men's Health, Go Ask Alice, Her Campus, LifeHacker, Scarleteen, Bustle, Madame Noire, Jezebel, Vice, Stallion Style, aPlus, Sex Talk Tuesday and Adult Sex Ed Month.

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