Q & A: Can you get an STI/STD from oral sex?

March 13, 2023

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Yes, you can get STI/STDs from oral sex. Oral sex is when someone’s mouth comes in contact with another’s vulva, penis, or anus. Blood, semen, and vaginal and rectal fluids can all carry STIs and STDs. While saliva in the mouth doesn’t carry STIs or STDs, they can be transmitted if someone has an oral or genital outbreak of herpes, or if there is any type of entryway into the bloodstream in or around the mouth. What is especially important to know is that a person can have microtears – or small, unnoticed cuts – inside the mouth that can be an opening for STI/STD transmission.

So how do we prevent STI transmission from happening? One way is to get tested for STIs/STDs between every sexual partner, and to make sure your partners are tested, too. Getting a test is the only way to know whether you or a partner have an STI/STD, you cannot know just by looking at a person. 

Image Credit: Austin Women’s Health Clinic

The other way to prevent STI transmission is by properly putting a condom on a penis before and during oral sex, or by placing a dental dam over a vulva or anus before and during oral sex. Dental dams also go by the name oral dam, and if you are having a hard time finding them, they can be made out of an external condom – Check out the image below!

Image Credit: ONE Condoms