The head of the penis has skin like this, and so do the labia, vagina, and rectum. The inside of the mouth and the throat have the same kind of skin.
So having oral sex can make this skin vulnerable to infection.
Valerie French, MD, MAS, completed a fellowship in family planning before joining the Ob/Gyn faculty at the University of Kansas.
She loves working at a teaching hospital and sharing her passion for family planning with learners. French is interested in improving access to reproductive health services in under-served areas, as she herself had difficulty obtaining birth control in college.
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For a person giving oral sex, his or her risk may be greater when there are sores in the mouth or unhealthy gums.
For a person receiving oral sex, the risk may be greater if there are sores, cuts from shaving around his or her genitals, or another STI in the mix. You can reduce the risk of HIV transmission during oral sex if you avoid ejaculate in the mouth using a condom or withdrawal.
Most of the time, gonorrhea in the throat does not cause any symptoms, but sometimes it causes a sore throat similar to a strep throat infection (gonoccal pharyngitis). The risk of getting gonorrhea or chlamydia infections in the throat is higher with fellatio than with cunnilingus. You can reduce the risk of gonorrhea and chlamydia transmission during oral sex if you avoid ejaculate in the mouth. Whether or not you have symptoms of either infection in the throat, getting tested and treated, and getting your partner treated will prevent passing the infection back and forth. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) doesn’t live on mucous membranes, but it can travel in blood, ejaculate, vaginal secretions, and other bodily fluids. The risk of HIV from oral sex is way lower than from anal or vaginal sex—but it’s not zero.