Contrary to what some people believe, sexually transmitted infections to be contracted and spread through oral sex. Some STIs, such as gonorrhea, genital herpes, are commonly spread through oral sex than other STIs.
About 1 million new STIs are acquired each day globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since oral sex involves close contact and often an exchange of bodily fluids, it is possible to contract many STIs through oral sex. STIs spread through contact with bodily fluids or skin that is infected with the STI. Different STIs spread at different rates and through various bodily fluids. The chances of getting an STI depend on different factors.
The STIs most frequently spread through oral sex include:
Gonorrhea is caused by a bacteria infection that is spread via sexual contact with the vagina, penis, mouth, or anus of an infected person. The infection is highly contagious.
Many people who have gonorrhea do not have any symptoms at all. When symptoms do appear, they may include:
- genital discharge
- painful bowel movements
- itching or burning during urination
- white, green, or yellow discharge from the penis
- bleeding between periods
Gonorrhea is treatable, but if left untreated, it can result to severe complications. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women (PID). This is mostly the cause of infertility.
Genital herpes is a viral infection that is transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal contact with an infected person. It is highly contagious especially during an active outbreak.
Symptom of herpes may include the appearance of blister-like sores on or around the genitals. The sores may spread to the buttocks, thighs, or other nearby areas. They may also affect the lips, mouth, and tongue, depending on the type of herpes.
The use of barrier protection including condoms, may prove abortive in preventing the virus from spreading. This is particularly so if someone has a sore or a blister that is not completely covered by a condom or dental dam.
People who have oral herpes may also spread the herpes infection to the genitals of their sexual partners through oral sex. Herpes is incurable, but symptoms can be managed with medications.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that spreads through vaginal, oral, penile, anal, or skin contact with syphilis sores. In some cases, syphilis sores may go undetected because of their small or unnoticeable size. A person may never know they have syphilis unless they get tested.
Syphilis is treatable, but if it is left untreated, it can cause dementia, organ failure, and other serious health problems.
Syphilis appears as many small, blister-like sores in its early stage. The sores normally appear where syphilis entered the body, so people who get syphilis from oral sex may have sores on their genitals or near their mouth.
Other infections are less likely to spread through oral sex, though infection is still possible.
- HIV: HIV/AIDS has no cure. It is transmitted when infected bodily fluids come into direct contact with another person’s bloodstream. In its earliest stages, HIV may not cause any symptoms. Over time, the disease destroys the immune system.
- Genital warts: These appear as lumps and bumps on or near the genitals. It is caused by the human papillomavirus(HPV). The disease spreads when people come into physical contact with a genital wart.
- Chlamydia: This infection is being spreads through vaginal, oral, penile, or anal contact with an infected person. Most people do not have symptoms, when symptoms do appear, they may include pain during urination, genital itching or burning.
- Hepatitis B and C: These are viruses that attack the liver. They can spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. Symptoms may begin with flu-like symptoms. It can lead to acute liver failure or chronic liver problems in severe cases.
- Pubic lice: Pubic lice, also called crabs, are tiny insects that feed on the blood and live in the pubic hair. The insects can also live on other body hair, but not on the scalp. Pubic licecan jump from one person to another through physical contact.