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Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs are, unfortunately, quite common nowadays, especially among younger people who have sexual relations with many different people. These diseases are transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and they can negatively affect the oral or genital region.

Orally transmitted diseases are particularly common because people think that this form of sexual activity is safe. Symptoms of orally transmitted sexual diseases are not very obvious, which is why many people are not even aware of having them.

There are several different forms of oral STDs, and they have their own symptoms.


Herpes is a very common orally transmitted disease caused by several strains of herpes virus. It is characterized by sores or lesions that appear on the lips, gums, tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the roof of the mouth. Sores first appear as blisters filled with clear fluid, which may burst and leave an ulcer-like lesion.

Before the sores appear, there may be a feeling of itchiness or tingling in the area. Fever sometimes accompanies oral herpes, along with a general feeling of fatigue.


Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is easily transmitted through oral sex. It mainly affects the genital area, but some symptoms may affect the mucous lining of the mouth as well. The infected region develops painful open sores, with a rash appearing all over the body, and the lymph nodes usually become swollen. Sore throat is a common oral symptom of this disease.


Like syphilis, gonorrhea is one of the oldest sexually transmitted bacterial infections. It can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Most of the symptoms are concentrated in the genital and rectal area, with pain and swelling, thick secretion from the penis or the vagina, frequent and painful urination, and painful intercourse.

Infections with Neisseria gonorrhoeae are a significant public health problem and represent the second most common reportable disease in the United States. In 2016 over 460,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, which represents a 19% increase since 2015. Additionally, gonorrhea infections disproportionately affect young people, with 20-24 year-old men and women highest rates of gonorrhea in 2016 (616.8 and 595.5 per 100,000 respectively). Gonorrhea can cause substantial morbidity and serious health complications, particularly in women, including ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, infertility and can increase the risk of transmission and acquisition of HIV.
  • Most reported cases of gonorrhea are based on urogenital testing and information on the epidemiological significance of pharyngeal infections is limited. Among men who report sex with men (MSM), pharyngeal gonorrhea is well documented with the prevalence ranging from 2-11%.
  • Data among heterosexuals are limited, however, pharyngeal gonorrhea has been noted in 3-7% of heterosexual men and 2-10% of women. Although the majority of women and heterosexual men report oral sex, most clinics do not routinely offer screening of the oropharynx. In fact, current screening guidelines recommend screening for pharyngeal gonorrhea among MSM who report receptive oral sex, though no such recommendations are in place for non-MSM populations.
  • Transmission of gonorrhea to the pharynx is thought to be more efficient through oral-penile contact than oral-vaginal contact.
  • We conducted a case control study of 245 young men and women between April 2012 and May 2014. Participants were eligible for inclusion if they were: (1) age 15 – 29 years, (2) reported giving oral sex to a partner of the opposite sex, in the past 90 days, and (3) attended one of twelve public STD clinics in Los Angeles County. Computer assisted self-interviews were used to collect information on sexual behaviors and tests were conducted for pharyngeal and urogenital gonorrhea.
  • The majority of participants were less than 25 years of age (69%) and more than half were female (56%). We identified a total of 64 cases (27%) of gonorrhea of which 29 (45%) were a urogenital only infection, 18 (28%) were a pharyngeal only, and 17 (27%) were dually infected at both sites. Pharyngeal testing increased case finding by 39% from 46 cases to 64 cases. After adjusting for age, gender, and number of sex partners, those who reported consistent pharyngeal exposure to ejaculate/vaginal fluids were three times as likely to have pharyngeal gonorrhea as compared to those without this exposure (adjusted odds ratio=3.1; 95% CI: 1.3-7.5).
✓ Fact confirmed: Factors associated with pharyngeal gonorrhea in young people: Implications for prevention Marjan Javanbakht, Drew Westmoreland, and Pamina Gorbach; 2019 Sep 1.


Human papillomavirus is a virus that has many different strains, causing different conditions. If a person infected with HPV has oral sex with another person, the chance of infection is very high. The main symptom of oral HPV is warts, which develop on or around the lips and inside the mouth.

Genital warts caused by HPV appear inside and around the vagina and the vulva and on the tip of the penis, and they can also develop around the rectum.


Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted orally as well, although its symptoms are usually focused on the genital area. Painful intercourse, increased discharge, frequent urge to urinate, and pain while urinating are among the most common symptoms of this sexually transmitted disease.


Hepatitis A, B, or C can be transmitted in many ways, and oral contact is one of them. This is a serious disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The symptoms include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, muscle fatigue, joint pain, nausea and vomiting, and fever.

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