What Do You Understand By Oral STDs?

What Do You Understand By Oral STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases are abbreviated as “STDs.” There are a lot of them, which we often hear about. Some of them are common and easy to treat such as gonorrhea whereas a few are dangerous and almost untreatable, i.e., HIV.

The only mode of transmitting an STD is through a sexual route. To your surprise, sexually transmitted infections are not just spread through intercourse. Any direct skin-to-skin contact with the genital area can pass it.

It means that not just the intercourse but oral sex can also transmit an STD. The oral route includes using mouth, lips, tongue, etc. The risks of oral STDs are the same as that of the rest.

RELATED: What Should You Know About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?

The only way, which you can try to reduce this risk, is through preventing oral sex. Or, get checked for STDs now and then along with your partner. You can also try a genital or dental condom.

All the sexually transmitted infections that are passed on through an oral route are called “oral STDs.” Following are a few common STDs, which one can easily transmit or receive through an oral way.

Oral STDs

  • Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a common disease, which is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person. Bacteria named chlamydia trachomatis cause it. It is among the highly prevailed infections, all over the world. It is common among all age groups.

In the USA, it is the most common STD. As described by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the year 2015 received more than 1.5 million reports of chlamydial infection in the entire USA.

Chlamydia is transmitted by the oral route, but it is comparatively less likely to happen. Most of the cases are spread through vaginal or anal route. The infection affects genital, throat, rectum, urinary tract and other organs.

The effects on the throat are asymptomatic. If the other symptoms appear, they may include sore throat problem. However, it doesn’t show up on every person. Chlamydia is not life-threatening and is easily treatable with medicines.

Related: Chlamydia – Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention

  • Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another familiar name among sexually transmitted infections. It is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is a bacterium.

Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is common in the USA. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculated 820,000 people to get infected with gonorrhea each year. Among this number, 570,000 affected people were among the age group 15-24.

Gonorrhea can also be transmitted by the oral route. But the chances of getting the infection are more with the anal or vaginal route. Gonorrhea affects genitals, urinary tract, rectum, and throat. Not all of them get affected at the same time, for everyone.

Gonorrhea is also asymptomatic, most of the times. The symptoms take at least one week to show up, and they may include a sore throat. Gonorrhea is treatable with the right choice of medicine.

The only problem with gonorrhea is that many people become resistant to antibiotics, which becomes a problem while treating a bacterial infection like gonorrhea. That’s why you need to go to a specialist to get its treatment.

RELATED: Gonorrhea- Causes and Prevention

  • Syphilis

Syphilis is an infected caused by Treponema pallidum, which is a bacterium. It is not a highly prevalent infection, only a few thousand people are reported with syphilis.

Syphilis affects the genitals, rectum, mouth, lips, throat, etc. the infection shows up in different stages. Its starts from the mouth as sores. It then makes way to the throat. Next is to get a skin infection, swelling of lymph nodes and fever. It may take years at this stage.

After making all this damage to your body, the infection affects the brain, nerves, eyes, bones, muscles, blood vessels and joints. If it remains undiagnosed, it can cause serious health complications. It can also be transmitted to the baby if a pregnant mother is infected.

Syphilis is treatable with right choice antibiotics. The symptoms eventually vanish as the treatment prevails forward.

RELATED: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)- Are you at risk of it?

  • HSV-2

Herpes is caused by HSV-2 through a direct sexual or oral encounter. It has affected millions of people worldwide and not under control in many parts of the world.

HSV-2 causes herpes esophagitis in a few people, which is less likely to happen usually. The symptoms of herpes esophagitis are as follows.

  • Having open sores in the mouth.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Difficulty in speaking.
  • Pains in joints.
  • Chills or fever.

Like HIV, it is a lifelong infection, which doesn’t show any symptom most of the times. A diagnosis on the right time and right medicines can help to reduce the prevalence of herpes.

  • HPV

HPV or Human Papillomavirus is the most common viral STD in the USA. As per CDC, nearly 79 million Americans are suffering from HPV till the date and every year 14 million people get HPV.

HPV can spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex. It affects genitals, throat, mouth, rectum, and rectum. It may or may now show any symptoms in the patient. Some HPV infections include laryngeal or respiratory papillomatosis, which affects the mouth and throat.

The typical symptoms of these infections include the following.

  • Viral warts in the throat.
  • Changed voice.
  • Difficulty in speaking.
  • Difficulty in breathing

Some HPV infections may not cause warts. The infections of mouth and throat especially don’t show up as warts. They may end up as head or neck cancer.

There is no cure for HPV. Sometimes it goes away on its own after a few years. Viral warts in mouth and throat can be surgically removed.

RELATED: Blue Waffle disease – What should you know?

  • HIV

HIV is one dangerous infection that has affected more than 1 million people in the USA, as estimated by CDC. It is highly contagious through vaginal and anal intercourse. The oral route of HIV is also a mode of transmission, but the chances are meager.

HIV has no permanent treatment. It may live with you for lifelong and show no symptoms. It only shows up as flu-like symptoms. There is no treatment for HIV till the date. It is not a bacterial but a viral infection. The treatment for HIV is only a controlling strategy, which doesn’t kill the virus.

RELATED: HIV Infection (AIDS)- A Silent Killer

How to get tested for an oral STD?

The STD screening tests are recommended for every person who is sexually active. A yearly testing for all common sexually transmitted diseases is necessary for all adult people, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

People who have multiple sexual partners and pregnant women should especially make their sexually transmitted diseases screening tests. The CDS suggests that all adult and older people should get tested for HIV at least once in entire life.

The screening tests for sexually transmitted diseases can be done at a doctor’s clinic or hospital. The tests for these diseases include the following.

  • For chlamydia and gonorrhea, a swab of your genital area is tested, or a urine sample is taken.
  • For HIV a swab from inside your mouth is taken. A blood test is also suggested for verification.
  • For herpes infection without any symptoms, only a blood test is sufficient.
  • For herpes with the symptom, a swab of the affected area is taken. A follow-up blood is also necessary to verify the results.
  • For syphilis, either a blood test or sample was taken from a sore may help.
  • For HPV warts, the visual diagnosis as per your description is necessary. For verification, pap test is recommended.

Final Thoughts

Sexually transmitted diseases are more likely to spread through sexual intercourse. It is a high chance that they can be transmitted through an oral route. Not all infections can pass on through oral route. But they have a potential to do so.

It is better for your safety to make necessary prevention strategies. For example, wearing a condom every time is one way to reduce the risk. You also need to keep track of your health and even your partner’s. Try to limit your partners to your sexual health.




The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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