Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs or STIs) are the diseases that are typically transmitted during sexual intercourse. However, they can also spread through skin contacts, body fluids and from mother to newborn children. Depending on disease’s severity they may lead to irritating symptoms, serious health issues like infertility or even death. Besides, contracting an STD could end up in confusing communication with your partner and demand significant expenses for medications.
The good news is that most STDs can be prevented relatively easy when given awareness.
Preventive measures include moderation in sexual contacts, monogamous relations being the best option, using condoms, abstaining from drug use or using sterile needles for any injections. Yet, some sexually transmitted diseases do not require vaginal or anal intercourse and can be transmitted even through minor skin contacts. This requires additional awareness.
Can you get an STD from kissing?
Yes, STDs can be transmitted through kissing. However, this is much less likely than during vaginal, anal or oral sexual contacts. Many STDs can be transmitted with body fluids, but saliva in not as favorable for infection transmission as blood or semen. Even if contraction is potentially possible through saliva, it usually requires the presence of open sores or cuts in the mouth of the receiving partner to get the infection. Yet, it is recommendable to be aware of the possibility and be careful when choosing a partner.
STDs that can be transmitted through kissing
Herpes is probably the most common STD that can be contracted while kissing. Herpes is a viral infection that is easily transmitted through skin contacts and exposure of mucosal tissues to the infection. Women are more susceptible to the virus. Having any sores in the mouth or on the lips increases the chances of obtaining herpes. Despite being relatively easy to treat, oral herpes can result in irritating blisters or cold sores on the lips and in the mouth. As long as Herpes is a highly contagious infection, it is recommended to make quick visual inspection of your new partner’s lips before kissing. Most Herpes-caused cold sores and blisters are obvious and easy to spot. If you are not sure about them, do not hesitate to ask your partner.
Hepatitis B is another STD that can pass from one person to another through saliva and exposed open sores. Thus kissing and sex play are potentially among the ways of contracting Hepatitis B. However, as most people in developed countries are vaccinated against the virus, there are not many cases of it and many people do not consider the virus to be able to spread through kissing. If left untreated, Hepatitis B can cause serious damage to liver.
Although highly unlikely, the possibility of receiving this dangerous STD through kissing should not be discarded. It takes an infected partner, the presence of open sores in the mouth and bad odds, but it can happen.
How to prevent STD transmission
Despite the wide-spread nature of sexually transmitted diseases, in most cases it is in everybody’s power to choose whether to protect from unwanted infections or not. No preventive measure can guarantee you 100% protection, but simple measures can reduce the chance of contracting an STD to the minimum. Abstaining from sexual contacts could be the most effective solution, but monogamous relations and careful partner selection is a more reasonable option. Using latex condoms during sexual intercourse is the most effective way to protect yourself from STDs. Do not proceed with sex when spotting any STD symptoms on your partner’s body.
Try not to use alcohol or drugs before sex as they may prompt you to risky behavior. Some STDs like HPV or Hepatitis B are effectively prevented by getting vaccinated. If you take drugs or make a tattoo, make sure to use sterile needles and never share them with other people. This is an extremely proven way to contract an STD. Do not share personal hygiene items such as towels, razors or toothbrushes and use slippers when visiting public baths or showers. Remember to pass medical tests on regular basis as they may reveal hidden STDs. When left untreated, they may be passed to your partners, develop serious conditions and favor the transmission of other infections.
Other ways of transmitting STDs
As we have said, kissing is relatively safe in terms of the possibility to contract an STD. However, there are many types of close contacts that expose you to dangerous infections that STDs are. Interchanging body fluids, such as blood, semen and venereal fluids with an infected person puts you under the risk of getting an STD. Thus direct sexual contacts, such as anal sex, vaginal sex and oral sex are the most common ways to pass STDs from one person to another.
Anal sex is considered to be the most dangerous due to damage done to rectal tissues and exposure to infections through sores and cuts. Some STDs do not require direct sexual contact and can be transmitted during skin-to-skin contacts, especially in the genital areas. Another common way to transmit STDs is the use of non-sterile needles, particularly sharing them while taking drugs, tattooing or piercing. Mothers with STDs can easily transmit them to newborn children during birth. Some infections can be transmitted while sharing towels and other personal hygiene products.