Can I get an STI from oral sex? - Play Safe
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NSW Government
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While you can’t get pregnant from oral sex, it doesn’t mean that oral sex is a no-risk situation.

Oral sex (that means using your mouth to pleasure someone’s penis, vagina, or anus) is still sex, and still involves sexual contact that could increase your risk of spreading or getting an STI.

Here’s why and how you should protect yourself and your sexual partner during oral sex.

What STIs could I get / give from oral sex?

In Australia, the most common STI passed through oral sex is herpes. You may not realise it, but those cold sores you get on your mouth every once in awhile are actually caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV 1). Almost half of genital herpes is caused by HSV 1, passed from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex.

Other STIs commonly passed during oral sex are gonorrhoea, syphilis and hepatitis A (hepatitis A is only passed through oral sex to the bum or rimming).

It’s very unlikely that HIV would be passed through oral sex.

How can I protect my sexual partner and me?

Thankfully, it’s easy to protect yourself and your partner during oral sex – just use barrier protection.

For oral sex with a penis, condoms are the way to go. If the taste of latex isn’t for you (and let’s face it, latex condoms aren’t exactly delicious), look for flavoured condoms and lubricants. Find out where you can buy condoms.

For oral sex on a vagina or anus, you can use a dental dam, or even cut up a condom (including a flavoured one) to make your own dental dam.

Not all STIs have symptoms  

Remember, we usually can’t tell when someone has an STI, as symptoms aren’t often visible, so barrier protection is the best way to avoid STIs during oral sex.

If you have given or received unprotected oral sex, it’s a good idea to see your GP or visit a sexual health clinic for a check-up. Getting tested is usually free and often as simple as peeing in a cup.

If you want to know more you can ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.

Could I have an STI?