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Oral Sex and Herpes / HPV
Mar 2, 2001

Are there any "safe" times when I can receive oral sex if I have a mild case (two outbreaks per year) of genital herpes or warts? Does this increase my chance of cervical cancer? I am a middle-aged bisexual and my partners want this. How much risk do they have of getting either?

Response from Dr. Dezube

This is a tough question. Truth be told, both genital herpes and warts are caused by viruses and both of these types of viruses tend to persist even if you do not have any lesions. HOWEVER, we providers tend to talk, not about safe sex, but rather "safer sex". What I mean by this, is the best thing you can do is to minimize transmission. So I would avoid sex when you have an active herpes lesions or warts. If you get recurrent herpes lesions, then at some point you might discuss with your provider taking an acyclovir-like drug to prevent such recurrences. If you get warts, they should be treated quickly before they propagate. And PLEASE get a routine PAP smear if you have not already done so. Many folks in your boat have a very active and enjoyable sex life, so do not despair.

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