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hello, i would like to know the risk of getting STDs through handjob and oral sex. I know you have your own diagrams to explain about these things. actually i have checked those diagrams. but the thing is, there's conflicting information between those diagrams and other resources from other websites. let me try to explain: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/STD-risk-in-recieving-handjob/show/1708925 in above web page, you can see Dr. Hunter H. Handsfield, MD explained there's no risk of STD in receiving handjob. Here another trusted source: http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Q9020.html Mr. Rick Sowadsky, a nevada state health division AIDS program staff also mentioned there's not supposed to be any risk in receiving handjob as long as no significant amount of semen/vaginal secretation on the hand. However, in one of your diagrams: http://smartsexresource.com/sites/default/files/Other-Sex-Table-v3.png you wrote "HPV, herpes, and Syphilis" are part of the "not commonly passed", which I assume these STDs can still be passed through handjob, just not as common as other sexual activities. It's contradictive to the two sources I gave you above. As for my secondary question, I would like to know STD risks regarding oral sex with a condom as a receiver (not as giver). I'm a man by the way so i'm talking about mouth on penis. In your diagram, you wrote "HPV, Herpes, Syphilis" as part of the "not commonly passed". As far as I know, these three STDs can be passed from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact, which explain why condom is not very effective against them, right? Now for the specific question. I assume these three STDs can still be passed through oral sex simply because of potential saliva drop to the area of the pubic hair which is not protected through condom, am I right? In that case, if me (as receiver) got oral sex while I'm standing, isn't that mean theoretically i'm safe? Because if the girl is giving me oral sex while i'm standing, and assuming that the girl's mouth nor saliva never touch any of my genital area OUTSIDE the condom itself, the risk should be zero, isn't it? Thank you.


It can be difficult to work out the exact way an STI is passed as most of the time an STI shows no symptoms and people usually have different types of sex rather than just one type. Currently the way they work this out is to study the people who get an STI and ask them what types of sex they had. As you can see for some STI it gives us a general idea rather than something precise.

With our chances chart, Hand Job (hand to penis or vulva) it is the risk that both includes giver and receiver. For example if someone had a syphilis or herpes sore on their penis and was given a hand job by someone there is a chance someone could develop a syphilis sore or a herpes sore on their hand. If someone did develop this sore on their hand there is a chance they could pass it to another person if this hand came in contact with someone else’s genitals. The risk we gave covers both the giver and receiver. But given this we don’t see these STI being passed from hand jobs and still recommend hand jobs as one of the safer ways to have sex.

You’re correct that the reason HPV, herpes and syphilis can be passed with condom use is because these can be on areas not covered by the condom and be passed by skin to skin contact. Being passed through oral sex is not so much about the saliva but more about the mouth coming in contact with areas not covered by the condom. If someone receives oral sex were the mouth is only in contact with the area covered by the condom and the condom does not break, I can’t see how an STI could be passed.

Thanks for the question, also let us know if you have any suggestions on how we could do the chances charts differently. As we do not have many categories the not “commonly passed” can mean that there is some chance but depending on the STI and the type of sex that is taking place the odds can vary quite a bit. 

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

This answer was posted on July 6, 2016

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