Sexual health expert Dr. Catherine Hood answers Can you catch an STI through oral sex in the company of Emma Howard.
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Emma Howard: Hello! We are answering questions on sexual health. I am joined by Dr. Catherine Hood. Hello Catherine! Dr. Catherine Hood: Hello! Emma Howard: I have got a question here from an 18-year-old who wants to know something, I am sure lots of 18-year-old, actually want to know, currently in a relationship with their first sexual partner, recently she said, she would like me to perform oral sex from her, but is it possible to catch an STI which of course is a Sexually Transmitted Infection from oral sex? And if so, what can I do to prevent this? I think this is a big concerned for young kids, isn't it? They'll think about herpes and things like that? Dr. Catherine Hood: Exactly. Also a lot of young people now engaged in much more oral sex than perhaps we did when we were teenagers. So it's a concerned. And the answer is yes you can pick out sexual transmission infection through oral sex and there is a variety of them you can get. The first one as you mentioned is herpes. Now herpes is caused by the virus Herpes Simplex Virus. Now that's the virus that causes cold sores. So not only it is possible to actually pick up the virus from some of the genital area, they have caught the genital infection, but it's also possible to -- Emma Howard: Cause in this area. Dr. Catherine Hood: Through oral sex to her. Okay. So that's one that compels either way. Emma Howard: So it's a big no-no, as if you got cold sores, which everybody can say just refrain from oral sex until it is completely cleared out. Dr. Catherine Hood: Absolutely until it's completely gone. So that's one thing to say. Now there are other infections as well to be concerned about with oral sex. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be both be spread through oral sex. So if your partner has any symptoms or your worried about instances at the first part, it depends what her sexual history was before, is she likely to have any infection, it's worth giving a checkup, and just make sure she hasn't got anything. Emma Howard: Now I can imagine that a young 18-year-old boy want big syringe, what can I do to prevent this. Are there any clear signs apart from the OPS sort of cold sores, what are the other signs? Dr. Catherine Hood: Well, if she is feeling discomfort or and it does increase discharge probably you have to remember she may not have any signs nothing at all. Now, in terms of protecting yourself, you can use a thing called dental dam, a lot of people don't like using these. This is a very -- there is a thin sheet of latex, a bit like a latex you get in a condom. You can use this -- you can spread this across the bevel area and it acts as a barrier between your mouth and their genital area. It again it stops any sexual transmitted infection you catching so -- Emma Howard: I can't imagine there has been particularly popular reason to get hold them. Dr. Catherine Hood: They are very easy to get hold of actually, it can get in the -- absolutely but a lot of people don't like using them, I have to say. So it's probably going and just making sure you both clean and have a nice check up and it is probably the easiest thing to do then you can have oral sex. Emma Howard: And if you're worried that you got anything get yourself checked out and these things aren't fatal, are they? I mean sexual disease is can be but the ones that we are talking about are easily cured out. Dr. Catherine Hood: These are not fatal, but there is one of the things particularly for women with oral sex, not so much for him but then we are increasingly seeing an oral cancer in younger people and we think that might be linked to transmission of the sexual transmission infection called human papillomavirus. So we by having a lot of oral sex with lots of different partners, you might be putting yourself at an increased risk of oral cancer. Emma Howard: So that's one thing where you really do need to get yourself checked out. Dr. Catherine Hood: You do, definitely. If there is any sores in your mouth, ulcers