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Orally Transmitted STI Warning

Sex ed for safety

Sex is one of the main activities of human beings and almost all of us feel a strong pull towards it; sometimes we hold it back and sometimes we don't, but the truth is that we are naturally driven to feel aroused by people we find attractive and want to have something with them. Recent changes in our culture as well as technological developments such as the infamous sex apps like Tinder have allowed sexual intercourse to become easier and more free between people. And with the increase of sexual freedom, we also see the increase of risks associated with these exchanges. 

Sexually transmitted diseases have been rising for the past few years in the United Kingdom as a result of these changes. It is the responsibility of institutions and governments to provide education on how to handle these risks and how to perform intercourse safely and/or avoid risky acts. They say that freedom comes with responsibility, so all of us also have to learn about safe sex and STIs so we can take care of ourselves and our partners.

There are many obstacles to sexual education and the implementation of safe behaviour in sex. From traditional negative judgement that drives to prejudice and shame, to our system's organic lack of information about sex - in all its variants -, to insecurity about asking for protection, to over-confidence in the odds of getting an STI from casual sex. Sometimes people just do not dare to ask for sexual education or they feel uncomfortable about discussing or making questions about some topics. The result is abundant misinformation and lack of information about how to have a safe sex life. This allows STIs to be passed on an on, and remain undiagnosed and untreated when caught - which can lead to severe health complications as well as the spread of the infections.

What nobody ever thinks of: oral transmission

When people think about safe sex, they imagine a male condom used in penetration. However, the truth is that safe sex goes far beyond that. People often understimate how risky some other sexual practices are, and perhaps the most overlooked of all is oral sex, either performed over male and female genitalia.

It is very rare that people perform oral sex by using condoms or dental dams. Reasons are many, from sex not being that pleasurable to shame about asking for using protection, to not even being aware of the importance of using protection in the first place. However, many STIs like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis and herpes can be transmitted via unprotected oral sex. The overwhelming proportion of people performing oral sex without proper safety measures has led to sharp rise in oral STIs

You can catch several infections throug oral sex. One of the most common infections is gonorrhoea, which can catch on the back of your throat. Gonorrhoea often has no symptoms, and when it does, throat infections can easily pass as a cold sore. People with gonorrhoea are rarely aware that they have it unless they get checked. This way, they can pass on the infection to other people with whom they have oral sex. As a matter of fact, oral sex has been identified as the may mean of transmission for drug-resistant gonorrhoea

 

Genital herpes can also be passed on through oral sex and even kissing. This infection is caused by a virus that is transmitted through soft tissue like the one that covers the mouth, the vagina and the anus. Genital herpes cause one or more outbreaks but most of the time it is inactive, causing no symptoms. It is potentially less harmful than chlamydia or gonorrhoea, but antibiotics do not work against it. Click here to read more on genital herpes.

How can I know I have an orally transmitted STI?

As you see, most STIs that you can have in your mouth or throat are asymptomatic - or have long asymptomatic periods - or have symptoms that are easily mistaken as something completely different. Therefore, the only way to know for sure that you don't have an STI, especially if you change partners often, is to get checked.

Orally transmitted STIs can easily be diagnosed with a throat swab. This is a very short procedure that is painless and sometimes you can even perform it at your own home and send the sample to a private clinic. You might not know it, but you can get a full STI check up purchased online and delivered to your home address. It is private, comfortable and very quick. Websites like the STI Clinic offer this service and we suggest that you take a look at their site.

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