Is it possible for you to contract an STD from kissing only? The fact is that there are specific sexually transmitted infections that are transmittable via kissing. Two of the most common ones are cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus.
Kissing happens to be one of the most exciting parts of a relationship. However, you may also feel wary of kissing if you are with someone for the very first time.
The best approach to avoid catching a sexually transmitted infection from kissing is to have a transparent, direct conversation about it with your partner(s). This can be quite intimidating, but setting certain boundaries early can greatly help you avoid infections.
What STDs cannot be Transmitted via Kissing
Below are some of the common STDs that cannot be spread via kissing:
- Chlamydia - Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that only spreads via unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who already has it. The saliva of the infected person can not transmit chlamydia.
- Hepatitis – Hepatitis is basically a liver condition which is caused by a virus that can spread through infected blood transfusion or coming in sexual contact with the infected person. Kissing does not transmit Hepatitis.
- Trichomoniasis – A bacterial infection that spreads through unprotected vaginal sex, not through kissing, anal or oral sex
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - PID is a bacterial infection often caused by chlamydia and gonorrhea. PID can only develop in women, and only through vaginal sexual intercourse. PID can not develop from oral activities. However, PID can also develop from other non sexually transmitted infections.
- HIV – HIV is a viral infection that does not spread through kissing. The saliva of the infected person does not carry the virus. However, HIV can spread through: blood, semen, anal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk.
Can Gonorrhea Actually Spread from Kissing? Is It That Common?
There is a limited amount of evidence that shows how common oral gonorrhea transmission is.
There have been numerous studies published on oral gonorrhea already, but most studies focus on specific groups like men who have sex with men and heterosexual women. What is evident here is that more than 85 percent of the sexually active men and women have had oral sex, and anyone who has unprotected oral sex has a high risk of contracting gonorrhea along with other sexually transmittable diseases.
Experts also consider that unobserved oral gonorrhea is partially to blame for the boost in drug-resistant gonorrhea.
Oral gonorrhea hardly ever causes symptoms and is generally hard to detect. This can result in delayed diagnosis and deferred treatment, which increases the risk of transmitting the infection to other individuals.
How Does It Spread?
Oral gonorrhea can spread via oral sex performed on the anus or the genitals of the infected individual. Although studies are quite limited, there are several older cases that indicate the transmission of gonorrhea via kissing.
Tongue kissing, which is generally referred to as ‘French Kissing’, appears to increase the risk of contracting the STD.
Common Symptoms You Must Know About
Oral gonorrhea mostly does not show any prominent symptoms. In case you develop any symptoms, they can be hard for you to differentiate from common symptoms related to throat infections. Some of the common symptoms may include:
- Redness in the throat
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Oftentimes, an individual with oral gonorrhea can also have gonorrhea infection in other parts of their body, such as urethra or cervix. If this is the case, the person may show some other symptoms of gonorrhea, which may include:
- Painful urination
- Burning while urinating
- Unusual penile or vaginal discharge
- Pain during sex
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
- Swollen testicles
- Bleeding during periods
What Makes This Condition Different From Strep Throat, Sore Throat or Other Related Conditions
The symptoms you are experiencing alone cannot differentiate between oral gonorrhea and other throat related conditions, such as strep or sore throat. The only way to be certain here is to consult a doctor for a throat swab.
As it is with strep throat, an individual infected with oral gonorrhea may experience a sore throat with redness, however; strep throat symptoms also cause white patches in the throat. Some of the common symptoms of strep throat are:
- A sudden fever, which usually goes up to 101˚F (38˚C) or even higher
- Swollen lymph nodes
Is It Time For You To Consult A Doctor?
Certainly! It is imperative for you to treat gonorrhea with prescribed antibiotics to fully clear the infection in your body and also take measures to prevent its transmission. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to a number of serious health complications.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to gonorrhea or any other sexually transmitted infection, it is imperative that you consult a doctor immediately for STD testing. Your physician will take a swab of your throat to check for the bacteria that has caused the infection.
Does Mouthwash Work? Or Only Antibiotics Would Work?
Mouthwash was been considered a vital product that helps cure gonorrhea. Until recently, there was no scientific proof to support the claim. According to the data collected from a 2016 random study found that Listerine considerably helps reduce the amount of N. gonorrhoeae bacteria on the pharyngeal surface. Although this sounds quite promising, more research is required to assess the claim.
Antibiotics happen to be the only treatment that has proven to be extremely effective.
How To Treat The STD?
Oral infections are harder to cure than rectal or genital infections, but with the right set of antibiotics, it surely is possible for you to get rid of the infection. The CDC recommends having a dual therapy due to the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of N. gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the infection.
This generally includes one injection of ceftriaxone and a single dose of oral azithromycin.
While you are on the treatment, it is imperative to avoid sexual contact, including kissing and oral sex, for a minimum of seven days after you have completed your course of antibiotics.
Other than that, it is imperative that you avoid sharing your drinks and food during this period, as gonorrhea can be transmitted via saliva. If your symptoms persist, even after you have completed your antibiotics course, see your doctor immediately. They may need to prescribe you with stronger antibiotics to clear the infection.
Talk To Your Partner(s)
Sexually transmitted diseases can be quite tricky, uncomfortable topic to talk about. But, if you want to ensure your health, and also the health of your partner, it is imperative that you both discuss it before you engage yourself in any sexual activity.
Below are some vital tips that help you to have a mature, productive discussion with your partner in this regard:
- Be open, direct and honest – if you are uncomfortable to have sex with your partner and want them to get tested or wear protection, be clear and honest about it and set up boundaries before you indulge in any sexual activity. If you already have an STD, it is imperative that you let them know before having sex so that you, as well as, your partner can take necessary precautions.
- Set your expectations up front – if you want your partner(s), whether it is someone new or an old one, to wear a condom, you should mention it to them right away and be firm about it. It is your body, and your partner does not have any right to tell you how to engage in sex.
- Use condoms properly every time - An important rule of thumb with any partner is to use condoms if you are not planning to conceive. Dental dams, condoms, and other protective barriers not only have a high chance of preventing pregnancy but also act as a shield against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Understand – Not all STDs spread via sex alone. Do not jump to conclusions that your partner has cheated on you or kept this as a secret. Some people do not find out that they have an STD until years later because there is a lack of symptoms, so it is crucial to take your partner at his or her word.