Summary: STDs Transmitted Through Oral Sex

A large number of teens and some adults may be engaging in oral sex to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. However, a report from the National Center for Health Statistics (a division of the CDC) cited evidence that HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, chancroid, and syphilis can all be transmitted through oral sex.

  • The authors of this survey wanted to take a broad look at sexual behavior among Americans ranging in the ages of 15 to 44. A large number of this population is engaging in oral sex to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) but, according to this report, this may be a wrong assumption. STDs, such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV, can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal sex and, because of this, the high incidence of oral sex can have an impact on U.S. public health. The survey described here was collected from households throughout the U.S., both through face-to-face interviews and anonymous reports of the interviewees into a computer. Among many findings of this study, the authors reported that 28% of the 15 to 17 year old boys indicated they had oral sex with a female in comparison with the 52% of the boys in the 18 to 19 year old population. Among all the females in the 15 to 17 year old age group, 30% had given oral sex to a male and 38% had received it. The survey also looked at the incidence of oral sex in same-sex versus opposite-sex partners as well as the use of condoms in these encounters. This data points to the growing trend suggesting that oral sex can be another major cause of STDs in the United States.1

1Oral Sex is Common Among Teens to Prevent STDs and Pregnancy, MedPage Today, September 16, 2005, pp. 1-4

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