A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control



Answered Questions

In the years since SmartSexResource launched, we have developed a library of questions asked by you, and answered by our expert sexual health nurses.

Our answered questions library cover a broad range of sexual health topics and common questions we hear at our clinics.

STI Prevention (66)

I’ve been diagnosed with hpv and am being treated for one genital wart above my labia. My boyfriend and I (I am a female) have been having unprotected sex for 6 months and the wart (previously thought to be a skin tag) has always been present. Can my boyfriend and I still have sexual while I’m being treated, can I give him oral sex as well and do we need to use co dons. He most likely has it and can we pass it back and forth?

HPV is a skin-to-skin contact STI which means that it is possible to transmit the virus to your partner during sex. It is important to note that there are more than 150 different types of strains of HPV, and only a few will cause genital warts. This means that you don’t necesarily need to have a wart to have HPV. Rest assured that HPV is quite common and our immune systems typically clear this virus out in most individuals on average 1-2 years (This may vary on your immune system and HPV strain). If you want to minimize your risk factors of transmitting HPV I recommend using a condom to and avoiding skin to skin contact when a wart is visible.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns

Health Nurse



I had protected sex about 3 months ago but i dont know if the condom was latex or not. I am very worried if I have hiv. I have some sort of bumps on the inner part of my foreskin (uncircumcised) that do not hurt. I have also been getting increased acne and dry lips and sometimes a cough that reappears. Can hiv get through a condom and what might these symptoms indicate?

Hi, and thank you for your question

Condoms, when used properly, can prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.
The symptoms you describe are not associated with an HIV infection. If you are concerned about any current symptoms or about STIs I would recommend seeing your doctor for assessment. And of course, we recommend routine testing for all STIs (including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis) for all sexually active individuals.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

Can I get STD if I deep kiss and sucking breast of a massage girl?I use condoms for vaginal and anal sex and do not use condoms for receiving oral sex.

Hi and thank you for your question.

Using condoms for vaginal and anal sex are a great way to lower your chances of getting a STD. The trick with condoms is that they have to be used from start to finish of the sexual encounter, and they have to be put on correctly. Also, condoms only protect the parts that are covered. That means, infections that are transmitted skin to skin are still possible even if using condoms – like herpes or genital warts. 

Ideally, you would also use some kind of barrier or condom when having oral sex, as some STDs can be passed orally – for example gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis.

Though uncommon, some STDs can be passed through deep kissing. Herpes is one example.

Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

Chances with Oral Sex: https://smartsexresource.com/sites/default/files/Oral-Sex-Table-v3.png

Chances with Anal or Vaginal Sex: https://smartsexresource.com/sites/default/files/Anal-Vaginal-Sex-Table-v3.png

Chances with Other Kinds of Sex: https://smartsexresource.com/sites/default/files/Other-Sex-Table-v3.png

Assessing Risk: https://www.srhweek.ca/caring-for-yourself/sexually-transmissible-and-blood-borne-infections-stbbis/assessing-risk/

If you are sexually active, and have new or different partners, or your partners have new or different partners, it’s always a good idea to get tested regularly. Ideally this would happen any time you experience symptoms, or if you don’t have symptoms, test a couple of months after a new partner or risk – this would cover off any window periods (the time from infection to the time it can be picked up on a test).

Hope this helps.

Health Nurse

I just had protected vaginal intercourse for 30 seconds about a month ago and I didn’t have much skin to skin contact. It’s been a month and I haven’t had any symptoms. What are my chances of getting genital herpes or syphilis?

Using a condom during sex is a great way to protect yourself from STIs. 

You are right however that with skin to skin contact there is always a risk of getting infections that are transmitted this way. 

Getting genital herpes or syphilis is often more complicated than just having direct skin to skin contact as it involves many different factors like at what stage of the infection the person is at who has the infection (do they even have an infection or are they currently having an outbreak or sores), the immunity of the person who may get the infection (are they already immune, are they healthy, are they immunocompromised), the time, timing and nature of the contact… to name some examples.

If you are sexually active, it’s always a good idea to get tested. If you have symptoms you should get tested right away, and if you do not have symptoms you should get tested routinely at least every 3-4 months or so if you have new or different partners. 

More information about “my chances” can be found here: https://smartsexresource.com/about-stis/my-chances


I just found out my partner has had unprotected sex with other women. I’ve been having troubles with bacterial vaginosis at times. Could this be related? When I found out, I did have STI testing and he did also.


Thanks for writing.

That can be difficult to hear that your partner is having unprotected sex with other people. It’s great that you both got tested after.

In terms of the bacterial vaginosis, it’s unlikely to be affected by your partner’s activities. Bacterial vaginosis is not sexually transmitted, or passed between partners. Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of normal vaginal bacteria (so it’s not “bad” bacteria), and it’s your own bacteria (so it didn’t come from anyone else).

It’s common for women get bacterial vaginosis whether they are sexually active or not. Many women will get bacterial vaginosis frequently for a few years, and then it can settle down and not come back. Sometimes women who have multiple sexual partners can get bacterial vaginosis more often, as they are being directly exposed to different people’s bacteria. You would not be exposed to other people’s bacteria through your partner (normal bacteria can’t be passed indirectly, only STIs can be passed indirectly).

Lastly, just a reminder than it can take up to 3 months for STIs to show-up in testing. If you only got tested a few weeks after your partner had other partner’s, it would be good to get re-tested after 3 months just to be sure.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to comment below or submit another question as needed.

Health Nurse

My partner is uncircumcised, can this increase my chance of getting BV? I’ve had recurrent BV and trying to figure out ways to prevent and minimize this annoying infection.


Thanks for writing.

Having a partner who is uncircumcised does not increase your risk for bacterial vaginosis (BV).

BV is not sexually transmitted, or passed between partners. Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of normal vaginal bacteria (so it’s not “bad” bacteria), and it’s your own bacteria (so it didn’t come from anyone else).

BV can be very frustrating for many people. The vagina is prone to change, and changes in vaginal pH can lead to BV. It’s common to get BV frequently for a few years, and then not get it again.

BV is treated with antibiotics. There is also some research that shows a natural supplement called Boric Acid can be used to prevent BV. Boric acid is not antibiotics, but it can help to stabilize the vaginal pH, if you find you are having a frequent BV. For more information on Boric Acid please contact a compounding pharmacy near you, or contact Finlandia Pharmacy in Vancouver.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to comment below or submit another question as needed.

Health Nurse

My partner let me know that he’s been paying for sensual massage services with a “happy ending”. What is the STI risk?


Thanks for your question.

Sensual massage is low-risk for STIs.

Massage with a “happy ending” can mean different things, but often it means that the person receiving the massage also receives sexual stimulation until they ejaculate (cum). The “happy ending” can be done by hand (“hand job”) or mouth (oral sex or “blow job”).

If the “happy ending” is done by hand, then it is very low-risk for STIs. If the “happy ending” was done by mouth (without a condom), then there is a risk for STIs, including: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes and HPV. A person can have these STIs without having any symptoms, and the only way to know if they have an STI is to get tested. If the “happy ending” is done by mouth with the condom on, then it is very-low risk for STIs.

If you’re able to speak with your partner more about how he receives the “happy ending” you will have more ideas about potential STI risks.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to comment below or submit another question as needed.

Health Nurse

can a man get a sti from oral sex?


Yes, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed through oral sex to people of all genders.

The most common STIs passed with oral sex are gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, and HPV. They can be passed to both the giver and reciever.

The chances of getting HIV is considered low. If you had a throat infection, bleeding gums or sores in your mouth it may increase the chances for HIV for the person performing oral sex.

Herpes (cold sores) can be passed from the mouth to the genitals. Herpes Type 2 can be passed from genitals to mouth, although that is uncommon.

For more information on STIs and oral sex, click here.

Using a condom or dental dam for oral sex can reduce the chance of getting STIs from oral sex.

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

Health Nurse

Hi Sir,I had received oral sex from a transgender. She had used condom. But I am not sure, whether that condom is teared,That transgender is HIV affected, and She had enough bleeding on her mouth.From the next 2 days onwards, I have body pain and tiredness, even my joints are paining little bit. So I am afraid of this.Could you please advise me if there is any chance of HIV infected and any tests that need to be taken.Thanks a lot if I receive a reply from you.


Thanks for your question.

We do not see HIV passed to people receiving oral sex.

Condoms protect against HIV, and it is usually very noticeable when condoms break or tear.

Even if the condom was torn, the chance of getting HIV from that experience is still very, very low. Any blood in the mouth would be diluted by the mouth saliva.

Also, if you were exposed to HIV the symptoms would not show up for 2 weeks. Symptoms starting 2 days after receiving oral sex are not related to HIV, but could be related to Syphilis.

If you are concerned about HIV, we would recommend getting an HIV test, as that is the only way to know your status.

If your symptoms persist, we would recommend going to see a healthcare professional in person.

For more information about the HIV risks of oral sex, check out our Know Your Chances – Oral Sex chart.

Hope this helps,

Health Nurse

I am confused with some things I’ve read on this site and others, A person is contagious even if no warts are present, then after 2 years without a wart it is concitered dormant or a “resolved” infection, what does this mean? Is a person still just as infectious? Will it come back? Or is it more like chicken pox, once your body fights/ beats it it is no longer a threat? I’m talking about the non cancerous types. And if so or not how do we know?


Thanks for writing.

Genital warts and HPV can be confusing for a lot of people. The confusion is partly due to the fact that scientists and researchers are still learning about genital warts, and we don’t know everything yet.

One thing we’re learning about genital warts is that some people get ‘transient’ genital warts, while others can get ‘recurrent’ genital warts. When someone has a transient wart that means they will have a visible wart on their skin, but once the wart is gone then the virus is gone. Others who have recurrent warts will have a visible wart on their skin, and once the wart is gone they can still pass on the virus.

We can’t tell who has transient versus recurrent warts. The same types of warts may be transient for some people and recurrent for others. The only way a person can know if they have recurrent warts is by having recurrent outbreaks of warts.

However, most genital warts are transient and HPV is mostly passed when there is a wart present. It’s much less likely for HPV and warts to be passed if there is no visible wart, we just can’t say it’s impossible.

We generally say that after 2 years without any warts that someone has “resolved” their genital wart infection. This means that they likely had a transient infection because they have not had any recurrent warts in a 2 year period. Someone with resolved genital warts is not infectious and will not have future outbreaks (unless they get re-exposed to the virus at another time).

It’s not quite like chicken pox immunity… Transient warts are superficial, and they do not involve the immune system. If you have a transient wart that goes away, then you won’t have any protection against that type of wart (and you can get it again). However, recurrent warts do get the immune system involved, and if you have a recurrent wart then you will be protected against getting that type again. There is a vaccine which protects against genitals warts.

So, yes, it can be difficult to tell who has HPV and who might be infectious. But the most important thing to remember is that genital warts are not cancerous, and not dangerous in any way. The types of HPV associated with cancer are invisible and do not make warts.

Also, we estimate more than 75% of Canadians will have genital warts at some point in their life. That’s most Canadians! Warts are spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, which can happen even when people are using condoms (because there are still parts of the body that can touch). That’s one of the reasons it’s so common.

Lastly, there is no routine testing for HPV, and people are not expected to know their HPV status the same way they know their HIV status. There are also no legal requirements to tell others if you have HPV. Talking to partners about HPV is based a person’s comfort, and their relationship with their partner(s).

Hope this helps. Please feel free to comment below or submit another question if needed.

Health Nurse