Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you contract a sexually transmitted disease through kissing?"
I know this might sound silly! Can you get an STD just from kissing. Are there any STD's that you can get this way?
Questions or concerns about sexually transmitted diseases can always be discussed with your primary care physician or (for women), your gynecologist. He or she can go over any concerns you may have about safe sexual practices and how to protect yourself and your partner from any unwanted infections. Bacterial STDs such as gonorrhea or chlamydia cannot be transmitted solely by kissing, even if one or both partners has participated in oral sex with other partners. In addition, HIV cannot be transmitted by saliva alone. However, when it comes to other infections typically associated with sexual activity, the question of whether or not kissing places you at risk becomes more complicated. Herpes infections can absolutely be transmitted by kissing. There are multiple strains of herpes viruses (they cause the common cold sore) and most adults have been infected with at least one simply through living in the world, completely independent of sexual activity. However, the herpes virus that typically causes genital outbreaks can be transmitted through kissing if either partner has recently engaged in oral sex with an infected partner. Similarly, the HPV viruses responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer have been increasingly linked to oral cancers, presumably through changing sexual practices and the increase in oral sexual activity. Again, please talk to your primary care doctor for more information.
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