STD Myth Exposed: Oral Sex and STDs

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Have you ever been told by a friend that you can’t get an STD from oral sex? This could be the most dangerous myth out in the world about STD transmission because it is completely false. In fact, STDs spread just as easily through oral sex as they do through other forms of sex such as vaginal or anal. Oral sex is a common practice among sexually active youth and adults in the U.S. A national survey of sexually active youth and adults found that over 80% between the ages of 15 and 44 had reported having oral sex at least once with a sexual partner.

The truth is that any exposure to genitalia or bodily fluids can put you at risk of catching an STD. There are many STDs that can be transmitted through oral sex including genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, and syphilis just to name a few. Several STDs are transmitted through skin to skin contact while others are transmitted through contact with sexual fluid.

If you notice something unusual, you should avoid contact. A few signs that something can be wrong include an unusual odor, sores, rash, or a genital discharge. It is important that in order to prevent the spread or transmission of STDs, safe sex should be practiced using a condom or dental dam. Of course, the best way to prevent catching an STD from oral sex is to abstain from sex.

Before engaging in intercourse (oral, anal, or vaginal) all partners should be aware of their sexual health status. The best way to do this is to take an STD test. It is always a smart idea to discuss STD concerns with a doctor.

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Reviewed by Ramesh Subramani, MD, MBA, MPH

References:
1 5 Myths about STDs – Teen Health
2 The Persistent Myth About Oral Sex – New York Times
3 7 Things You Need to Know about Oral Sex – Bustle
4 Oral Sex and STIs – ASHA
5 Oral Sex and HIV Risk – CDC

Article by Robert Francis Curtis

Robert studied at Columbia College Chicago. He has worked as a Care Adviser here at Analyte Health for a while and looks forward to spreading more information about sexual health.