I started this write-up on the risks associated with oral sex, and this week I bring you the concluding part of it. Do enjoy it.
Herpes is a common STI that has two types: oral herpes (blisters and cold sores around your mouth or nose) and genital herpes (pain, itching and small sores on the genitals that turn into ulcers and scabs). You can catch either type of herpes from unprotected oral sex (and unprotected vaginal or anal sex too).
If your partner has cold sores around their mouth (oral herpes), they can pass these on to your genitals during oral sex. If your partner has herpes blisters around their genitals, they can pass these on to your mouth if you give them unprotected oral sex.
Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, hepatitis C
All of these STIs are caused by viruses or bacteria that can be passed on in the same way: through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as semen, pre-ejaculatory fluid, blood, or vaginal secretions. So oral sex puts you at risk for these diseases. HIV is also in this category.You may be infected with one of these STIs if infected fluids come in contact with any sores, cuts, or ulcers you may have. The fluids can also get into inflamed cells on the lips, mouth, genitals or anus, the membrane of your eye, or the cells of your throat. This contact can allow the fluids to get into your bloodstream and make you sick.
Experts say the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from an HIV-positive person during oral sex is extremely low, but it’s difficult to know exactly because people often participate in vaginal or anal sex at the same time as oral sex (which, when unprotected, both offer a much greater risk than oral sex). The form of oral sex posing the greatest risk is mouth-to-penis oral sex.The risk of contracting HIV/AIDS increases if you have sores in your mouth or on your vagina or penis, bleeding gums, mouth contact with menstrual blood, or other STIs.
Shigella gastroenteritis is a bowel infection caused by bacteria that are passed on through contact with infected faeces (poo). It can also be spread through sexual contact, especially during oral or oro-anal sex. Men who have sex with men are at particular risk.
Syphilis is a very serious condition if left untreated, but can be cured with the right treatment.
Symptoms come in three stages: a single sore (often painless), then a rash or sores (or both), then organ damage and possible death if left untreated. The late stage of syphilis may not develop for 10 to 30 years from when you were infected. You can catch syphilis by coming into direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Sores may be on your partner’s penis, vagina or anus, in the rectum, or on their lips and in their mouth.
Pubic lice (‘crabs’)
Pubic lice or ‘crabs’ are tiny insects, found in the genital area that feed on blood. They can cause intense itching. Pubic lice are spread during sex. They can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
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