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What are the chances of catching an STI from receiving oral sex? What types of STIs can you catch from receiving oral sex?

Thank you for your questions. The answer will depend on a few things: First, if you are a man or woman receiving oral, second, if you are using any protection during oral sex and third, what kind of oral sex you are having.

We have developed a Know your chances chart that breaks it all down for you. Please check out our Oral Sex Chart and leave a comment if you need more information, clarification or have more questions.

As with all sexual activity, if you are receiving oral sex, consider testing regularly for STIs. Our Find a clinic feature will help you locate a clinic in your area.

Health Nurse

This answer was posted on August 25, 2016

Community comments

BGuy says:

Cant STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea only be detected in urine? Or can you just swab the outside (skin and head area) of the penis for tests?

Does the infection reside actually on the penis? If a penis is clean or has been clean and there is no penile discharge ie pre cum or urine, can the oral giver still get infected?

Health Nurse says:

Hi

Organisms like chlamydia and gonorrhea needs a specific mucosal surface (wet skin) on the body like the urethra, endocervix, rectum, pharynx etc. to survive and reproduce. Gonorrhea and chlamydia would not survive on the dry skin of the body e.g hands, shaft of penis.

We can test for gonorrhea and chlamydia by doing a urine test or a swab test to the urethra, throat, rectum or vagina. We cannot do a test by swabbing the outside of the penis.

The infection would not reside on the actual penis but in the urethra (pee tube) of the penis. If a person is performing oral sex on someone with a penis, who has chlamydia there would be a chance that it could pass to the throat, the risk for this would not be affected if the penis was cleaned or washed.

Let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.

HN

Gottie says:

Hi. I recently got with a new girl. Two days before, I took a course of Azithromycin and ceftriaxone as I believe I have epididymitis. We never had sex, but I gave her oral. I'm not even sure I have chlamydia or gonorrhea, but what are the chances I have given this new partner chlamydia through giving her oral sex? I'm such an idiot!

J9911 says:

Hello,

How long after possible exposure should one wait before testing? Main one I'm concerned about (male receiving oral) is hsv2? I read that there's early detection tests, etc. Is two weeks an ok amount of time?

Health Nurse says:

It takes the body up 3-4 months to develop antibodies to HSV so that the antibodies can be detected by blood test. Since the majority of people have come in contact with herpes, blood testing for herpes is not done as a routine sti test as majority of people will have a positive result and the blood test does not tell you where the herpes is on the body.  If you have any blisters or sores like a herpes outbreak on your penis, then that area can be swabbed for herpes and if it is herpes, the swab can also tell you what type of herpes it is. This is a very accurate way for testing for herpes. If you are someone who gets cold sores ( usually HSV 1 but can be HSV 2) , then you already have antibodies to herpes in your body and this means it is less likely that you will get another type of herpes. To read more about herpes please see this updated resource page and handbook:  https://smartsexresource.com/topics/herpes-simplex-virus-genital-herpes

Health Nurse says:

The treatment you received covers both gonorrhea and chlamydia and is dependent on abstaining from sexual contact for 7 days. You do not say if you had any sti testing done at the time and whether you are waiting on the results. Epididymitis can be caused by other bacteria that are not sexually transmitted. If you did have sti testing done at the time of treatment and those tests come back positive for chlamydia, you will be asked to notify all your partners in the last 2 months so that they can get treated and do testing. This will include your new girlfriend. Giving oral sex to a woman is not thought to be a common way to pass chlamydia from  mouth to vulva.

jriv2590 says:

How common is it for a male receiving oral sex from another male to contract an STI? Is it considered a high risk activity? Aside from condoms, are there any ways to mitigate or prevent transmission?

Health Nurse says:

Hi jriv2590,


Many STIs are easily passed through oral sex, regardless of whether you receive it from a male, female, trans, or non-binary person.


Oral sex is generally not considered to be a "high risk" kind of sex because we do not see HIV passed that way. However, with any unprotected oral sex there other STIs are easily passed, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HPV.
 

If you receive oral sex from someone who has an STI, the chance of getting the STI is about a 50/50 chance.
Condoms and/or protective barriers are the best way to protect yourself during oral sex. Having regular partners who go for routine STI screening can also help decrease the risk of getting an STI.

Unfortunately, there aren't any other mitigating factors. It doesn't make a difference if you ejaculate in the person's mouth, or wash your genitals right after. Neither of those prevent STI transmission.
 

Hope this helps!

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