Oral sex might seem safer than regular sexual intercourse, and one cannot get pregnant through it, but it holds various risks regarding infections that can be transmitted orally, as well. During oral sex, different pathogens can get into the mouth from the penis or vagina, and vice versa, which can only be avoided with the use of protection. Contrary to the misconceptions, the use of condoms is necessary during oral sex, too.
What kind of oral infections can we catch?
We can get infected during oral intercourse even if our partner does not have any symptoms, since certain pathogens can infect even in an asymptomatic phase. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and HPV are among these.
Although Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can be cured with proper treatment, herpes infection cannot. A medication that would cure herpes infection does not exist. However, there is a medicine that can limit the proliferation of the virus, if the patient starts using it quickly, when the symptom would develop. Therefore, it is unfortunately not a virucide, but a virus inhibitor. This prevents more serious symptoms. To someone who has any particular symptoms, we recommend the use of a condom even when the symptoms are not present, since they can infect through asymptomatic viral shedding, too.
As we already know, HPV (human papilloma virus) is responsible for developing cervical cancer. But many people are not aware that certain pharyngeal (throat) cancers are also caused by HPV. Furthermore, a connection was observed between the number of oral sexual partners and the risk of pharyngeal cancer.
Apart from cancerous diseases, certain types of HPV are responsible for warts appearing on the genital area, as well.
As well as the infections above, syphilis is also transmittable orally, but luckily, syphilis can also be treated, with antibiotics.
We can get infected orally with Hepatitis B virus, too.
How can we protect against oral infections?
Protection against oral infections has three important pillars.
Firstly, use a condom for oral sex, as well, especially, if it is just a casual relationship. Its use is not widespread in Hungary, but for oral sex performed for the pleasure of the female partner, we can use a so-called dental dam, which provides protection against unwanted infections. A dental dam is a sheet made of silicon or latex, but we can make a similar sheet at home by cutting a condom into a square shape, which we can also use safely.
The second important element of protection is vaccination. There exist vaccines protecting against Hepatitis B and HPV, and by getting the injections, these infections can be prevented.
Beside the things mentioned above, the third important pillar of protection is participation in screening examinations, as prevention. In a new relationship, before any form of sexual act, be it vaginal, anal, or oral, go for a screening with your partner, to find out whether either party is infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Having negative results, or after treating the incidental infection, oral sex can also happen without any worries.
If you had several casual oral sexual relationships, or just want to make sure you do not have any infections, book an appointment to our STD Clinic!