The risk of each infection in each kind of sex

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This video is our medical director giving you a summary of the infections we see in oral, vaginal and anal sex. After watching, please select below the kind of sex that interests you to read more detailed information.

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We are an urban medical centre with an open-minded approach

Was the sex high risk? What are the risks in oral sex?

(1) Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis

Oral Sex (mouth to penis)

Receiving oral sex or giving it without a condom is the main way that gonorrhoea and chlamydia are transmitted according to what we see in Open House. One in every 17 men in whom we do a chlamydia test from the penis (urethra) is positive for chlamydia.

There are many cases with no symptoms, in the throat as well as in the urethra. If would like more information about the risk of catching gonorrhoea, chlamydia or syphilis in oral sex (mouth to penis) with someone who is infected, take a look at the table on the right.

  Mouth to penis oral sex 
Risk% silent cases
penisthroat
Gonorrheamax 60%max 30%max 90%
Chlamydiamax 60%max 60%max 90%
Syphilismax 40%max 15%max 100%

Oral Sex (mouth to vagina or cunilingus)

Giving a woman oral sex is also a risk for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis, but is less common than mouth to penis.

Cases of syphilis have been described in women receiving cunilingus, but it is not a very likely route of transmission for gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

 Mouth to vagina oral sex
risk% silent cases
Vagina to mouthMouth to vaginapeniscervix
Gonorrheamax 5%max 40%max 30%max 90%
Chlamydiamax 5%max 40%max 60%max 90%
Syphilismax 40%max 40%max 15%max 100%

Queries? Write to us

Oral sex is not a major route of transmission for HIV and hepatitis B. The risk of HIV is practically zero, but there are some circumstances in which this risk rises slightly, albeit still being relatively low risk. Please see the diagram on the right.

The risk of hepatitis B is about 1% in all oral contacts (mouth to penis and cunilingus)

How can this risk be calculated unless people tell the truth?

It is extremely difficult to calculate the risk of HIV in oral sex because you have to identify people with the disease who have only ever practised unprotected oral sex, and often don’t want to admit the truth about other kinds of sex.

This situation is well illustrated if you read one study (that reports that in the UK only 13 cases of HIV were transmitted in oral sex from the 1980s up until 1998) with other studies published more than 15 years ago where a higher risk was reported, suggesting that oral sex is probably not a major route of transmission.

Beware of reading studies from the pre-medication era, because they conflict with the general consensus:

These studies also have tried to quantify risk. Some of them report a rate of between 3 and 16% of all positive cases being due to oral sex. But this is NOT our experience in Open House nor does it coincide with estimates made by health authorities. Also, these studies were performed in the pre-medication era, and this treatment dramatically reduces the infectivity of people with HIV.

  • Wound or abrasion on the genitals
  • Wound or abrasion in the mouth
  • Brushing teeth immediately before sex
  • Ejaculation (risk for the person who receives)
  • Co-transmission of gonorrhoea or chlamydia
  • The use of drugs during sex
  • Having syphilis
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I would like to know more about the risks in vaginal sex

Vaginal sex is a more potent route of transmission of the viruses (hepatitis B and HIV) than oral sex, but both kinds of sex are potent routes for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis transmission.

Many of these infections exist without symptoms, especially if they are in a hidden part of the body (inside the vagina or in the cervix).

Take a look at this table which shows the risk of catching these diseases in vaginal sex with someone infected and the number of silent cases.

The risk of HIV is reduced if the sex was not prolonged, traumatic or if there was no ejaculation (less risk for the woman).

Being postive for one disease increases the risk of catching another.

Mycoplasma and ureaplasma:

These two bacterias are very infectious in vaginal sex and in fact, are only transmitted in this kind of sex (with a risk similar to that of gonorrhoea and chlamydia) but they are only considered a threat if they produce symtpoms.

Trichomonas

This parasite is an uncommon cause of vaginal infections or urethritis in men and is tramsitted only in vaginal sex.

 Vaginal sex risk
Risk% silent cases
for menfor womenmenwomen
Chlamydiamax 60%max 60%max 30%max 90%
Gonorrheamax 60%max 60%max 60%max 90%
Syphilismax 40%max 40%max 15%max 100%
Hep Bmax 10%max 100%about 75% of casesabout 75% of cases
HIVmax 0.1%max 1%about 75% of casesabout 75% of cases
Check opening times

Do you want an appointment at Open House? Call us!

Please, see our calendar and check the opening hours before you schedule an appointment.

I would like to know more about the risks in anal sex

Anal sex is the most potent route of transmission of all sexually transmitted disease, in heterosexuals and between men.

In our clinic, it is common to see patients who want to try to avoid pregnancy by practising anal sex, but they forget that it is the major way that HIV is transmitted.

As shown in the table on the right, if you have anal sex with someone infected with hepatitis B, the risk is about 100% chance of getting infected.

Similarly, (in the case of gonorrhoea, chlamydia or syphilis), the rectum can harbour these infections without any symtpoms at all.

Concerned? Come and see us and tell us what happened to you, at Open House podemos we can helpby doing the relevant tests to give you peace of mind.

 Anal sex risk
Risk% silent cases
for activefor passivefor activefor passive
Chlamydiamax 60%max 60%max 30%max 90%
Gonorrheamax 60%max 60%max 60%max 90%
Syphilismax 40%max 40%max 15%max 100%
Hep Bmax 10%max 100%about 75% of casesabout 75% of cases
HIVmax 1%max 10 %*about 75% of casesabout 75% of cases
* this maximum risk is reached in prolonged or traumatic sex or with ejaculation

Questions? Would you like to write to us?

At Open House we don't judge you, or your sexual practices. Tell us what is your concern, we are here to help you.

I would like to know more about the risks of other sexual practices

Sharing cocaine dosers

Despite sexual contacts being a minor route of transmission. Its transmission occurs because of fragile blood vessles in the nose bleeding.

I want to know more about hepatitis C

Sharing dildos

The risks of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis are similar to those seen in anal sex. In this kind of sex between women the risks are similar to those seen in vaginal sex.

I want to know more about those risks

Fisting

Fisiting in groups (in parties) without gloves has been shown to be a powerful route of transmission of all sexually transmitted diseases. It is also a high risk activity for hepatitis C and lymphgranuloma venereum. They can be prevented using fresh gloves for each sexual partner when fisting.

What is the lymphogranuloma venereum?

Inoculation of bodily fluids into finger wounds

There is no data that supports whether HIV is transmitted in finger wounds or torn nail beds when in contact with precum, semen or vaginal fluids. It is believed that the wound must be bleeding to suppose a risk.

I wanto to know more about HIV Infection
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Do you want to go back over a topic? How can we help you?

I would like to know more about the risks of oral sex

I want to know more!

I would like to know more about the risks of vaginal sex

I want to know more!

I would like to know more about the risks of anal sex

I want to know more!

I would like to do a complete sexual health check-up

I want to know more!

I'm in a relationship and have had sex with someone else - I'm very frightened!

I want to know more!

I would like to know more about the risks of other sexual practices

I want to know more!

I would like to know which disease are the most common ones seen in Open House

I want to know more!

I want to learn more about the window period

I want to know more!

What are the prices of the tests?

I want to know more!

. . . Scientific Literature

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