Oral STDs can be contracted through using lips, tongue, or mouth for sexual intercourse. Apart from vaginal or anal sex, sexually transmitted diseases infections and diseases can be gotten through when a person engages in oral sex with an infected partner. In fact, any skin-to-skin contact with the genitals is enough to pass an STD or STI on to your partner.
To cut down or reduce the risk getting oral STDs, it is advisable to use a genital or dental condom.
Common Symptoms of Oral STDS
STDs and STIs can be spread through oral sex. Symptoms may include:
Gonorrhea, also called “the clap,” is a common STI caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea can be transmitted via oral sex, but the infection is more likely to be passed on through anal or vaginal sex. When a person contracts oral STD which may be gonorrhea, it may affect the urinary tract, throat, genitals, and rectum.
Most times, gonorrhea of the throat shows no noticeable symptoms. But symptoms may appear a week after exposure and can include a sore throat.
Antibiotics can be used for the treatment of gonorrhea. However, there has been an increase in reports of drug-resistant gonorrhea around the world. If symptoms persist after you’ve completed the full course of antibiotics, consult your doctor for retesting.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI in the United States. It is caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia can be passed through oral sex, but the infection is more likely to be transmitted through anal or vaginal sex. Chlamydia affects the throat, genitals, urinary tract, and rectum.
Most chlamydia infections of the throat don’t carry any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they can include a sore throat. The right antibiotics can be administered to cure Chlamydia.
Syphilis is an infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Syphilis affects the mouth, lips, throat, genitals, anus, and rectum.
Symptoms of syphilis do occur in stages. The first stage for oral STD includes sores in or around the mouth and throat. The second stage includes a skin rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. The latent stage of the infection, which can last for years, shows no signs or symptoms. The third stage of the infection can affect your eyes, blood vessels, liver, joints, bones, heart, and brain.
If left untreated for long, the bacterium will remain in the body and can cause serious health problems such as organ damage and major neurological consequences. Syphilis can be treated with the right antibiotics.
HIV is most commonly spread through vaginal and anal sex. The risk of spreading or becoming infected with HIV through oral sex is very low, according to the CDC. HIV is a lifetime disease, and many infected people don’t notice any symptoms for years. People living with HIV may firstly have flu-like symptoms.
HIV has no cure. However, those infected can live long, healthier lives by taking antiviral medications.
HSV-2 is mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse, causing genital or anal herpes. HSV-2 is a lifelong infection. It can spread through oral sex even when there are no symptoms. Treatment for this infection can help to reduce or prevent the herpes outbreaks. Symptoms of herpes esophagitis include:
- open sores in the mouth
- joint pain
- difficulty swallowing
HPV virus can spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. HPV affects the mouth, throat, genitals, cervix, anus, and rectum. HPV infection won’t show any visible symptoms in most of the cases. HPV has no cure, but it may vanish within two years of infection.
Other types of HPV infection can cause laryngeal or respiratory papillomatosis, which affects the mouth and throat. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- warts in the throat
- vocal changes
- difficulty speaking
Several other HPV types that infect the mouth and throat don’t cause warts, but may cause head or neck cancer.
Testing for Oral STDs
Yearly testing (at least) for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea for all sexually active women younger than 25 years and for all sexually active men who have sex with men, is recommended by CDC.
People with new or multiple sex partners, as well as pregnant women, should also have annual STI screenings. The CDC also recommends that all youth and adults ages 13 to 64 years get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime.
The types of tests include:
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea: swab of your genital area or urine sample
- Syphilis: blood test or sample taken from a sore
- HPV (warts of the mouth or throat): Visual diagnosis based on symptoms or pap test
- HIV: swab from inside your mouth or blood test
- Herpes (without symptoms): blood test
- Herpes (with symptoms): swab of the affected area with a follow-up blood test to check results properly.
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