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Ask Dr. Beth: Oral Sex and STIs

iknowmine staff - Monday, April 14, 2014

Anonymous asked: I gave someone a blow job without a condom. Could I really have an STI in my mouth? And if so, is it treatable? And how long would it take for me to notice it?

Hi! Thanks for using our confidential question & answer service!

Your question:

I gave someone a blow job without a condom. Could I really have an STI in my mouth? And if so, is it treatable? And how long would it take for me to notice it?

Types of STIs orally. The most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to spread via oral sex are herpes, HPV (Human papillomavirus), and gonorrhea. Other two less common chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV.

Symptoms or signs. Most STIs do not have signs or symptoms that we can see or feel. Many times the effect STIs have on your body is internal. Herpes and HPV would have signs in the mouth, gonorrhea and chlamydia would be in the throat. HIV would affect the whole body. Syphilis would show in the mouth and eventually affect the whole body if not treated. If there was signs…:

  • Herpes would be small sores or bumps that can turn into open sores in your mouth (including gums and tongue).
  • HPV would be warts in mouth (including gums and tongue), almost all HPV types do not have symptoms that are visible/noticeable in the mouth.
  • Gonorrhea would feel like having strep throat or a sore throat, if it was a type that has that kind of symptoms. Many cases of gonorrhea in Alaska does not have symptoms but has long term effects if not treated. 
  • HIV would feel like a short or mild flu.
  • Syphilis would show in the mouth as small sores or rash.

Length of time for testing. If there was going to be symptoms, the length of time varies according to your own bodies health. A good window for symptoms is 1-5 days and up to 2 weeks for gonorrhea. You can be tested for gonorrhea. Make sure to tell your provider that you are wanting to be tested orally, an urine test or vaginal swab can’t detect gonorrhea in the throat. You can get tested one week after exposure or when symptoms appear, whatever is sooner.

HIV and Syphilis testing is recommended two weeks after exposure and another test again at 3 months.

There are no good tests for HPV or herpes. For both you can never have symptoms and still carry the herpes virus or HPV. Herpes or HPV in one person may cause signs but their sexually partner who has the same type of herpes may never have any signs or symptoms.

Treatment. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis are easily cured with short-term antibiotics (just like an ear infection!).

There are no cures for HPV or herpes only treatment for the symptoms. Both are extremely common. It’s estimated that 25% of the US population has HPV, 58% has Herpes type-1 and 16% has Herpes type-2. Both types of herpes can be passed between genitals and mouth. Some people can naturally get rid of the virius (called shedding the virus). If symptoms appear go see your healthcare provider to talk about treatment options. To learn more about the long-term health effects of HPV please go the CDC’s fact sheet on HPV

There are no cures for HIV, but treatment that makes the virus manageable. People who get diagnosed early with HIV and take daily medication have the same life expectancy as HIV negative persons and live full, healthy lives.

Learn even more about each type of STI, symptoms, treatments, and long-term effects on the body at our website

Thanks again for you question. Feel free to ask follow-up or additional questions!

-Your team

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium HIV/STD Program

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