Many people question whether oral sex is really sex. That depends on how you define sex, but one thing is clear. Oral sex isn't inherently safe sex. It can transmit a number of different STDs, at least if you don't take proper precautions. Take a look at some common STDs, and the risk of transmission during oral sex, below.condoms, female condoms, or dental dams is an effective way to reduce your chances of contracting the virus when engaging in oral sex. If you don't choose to use protection for oral sex, you should know that the risk of HIV transmission increases if the person performing the act has cuts or sores in his/her mouth, if ejaculation takes place in the mouth, and if the individual receiving oral sex has any other sexually transmitted diseases. The risk is primarily for the person performing the oral sex. Unless a partner has significant amounts of blood in his/her mouth, such as from dental surgery, oral sex is unlikely to expose the receptive partner to HIV. prophylactic medications, such as Zovirax (acyclovir), can reduce the likelihood of both outbreaks and transmitting the herpes virus to your partner, they can not eliminate the risk entirely. Although they should greatly reduce the risk of herpes transmission, condoms are also not completely effective in preventing transmission of herpes during oral sex, since the virus can spread from skin to skin. oral and throat cancers. HPV can also appear in the oral cavity through vertical transmission (transmission from mother to child during birth). As with herpes, it seems likely that the use of condoms or dental dams during oral sex should reduce the risk of infection, but they will not necessarily eliminate it entirely since HPV spreads via skin-to-skin contact not through bodily fluids. difficult to treat. There is limited research to suggest that it may be possible for someone to acquire a gonorrheal throat infection while performing oral sex on a woman, but transmission in the other direction is relatively unlikely since the site of infection is the cervix -- a part of the female anatomy not reached during cunnilingus. Condoms and dental dams should be extremely effective in preventing transmission of gonorrhea during oral sex. fellatio, and both the recipient and the person performing the act are at risk. There has been little research on whether it is possible to transmit chlamydia during cunnilingus, but infection risk is probably similar to that for gonorrhea. symptoms, during the primary and secondary stages of the disease, the painless sores it causes are easy to miss. rimming, you should talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated. Vaccination is a good idea in any case, and the hepatitis B vaccine is currently recommended for all children and many groups of adults.
The Bottom LineIn summary, unprotected oral sex puts you at risk for numerous sexually transmitted diseases. If you perform unprotected oral sex on your sexual partners, you should mention it to your physician. She may want to check your throat when she is screening you for other STDs.
"Can I get HIV from oral sex? from the CDC. Accessed 2/15/07.
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