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Oral Sex STD's Part 2

Jul 31, 2003

Hi Again Ryan-

You just responded to my question about other STD's and receiving oral sex with a condom. Thanks for the quick response. However, I want to understand...can herpes, syphilis, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, and HPV pass through the condom? Or would there have to be skin to skin contact? Thanks again.

Response from Mr. Kull

There is conflicting information about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (besides HIV, for which there is a prepondernce of evidence that demonstrates latex condoms' effectiveness at preventing transmission). It is unlikely that the microorganisms responsible for other STIs would be able to pass through latex condoms, but the ways that other STIs are transmitted make our understanding of this tricky. For example, if someone gets infected with HPV even though they wore a condom, we can't know if the transmission occurred because HPV passed through the latex or because there was direct skin contact with active lesions (this can occur when something like herpes or HPV occurs on an area that is not covered by a condom, like the testicles, the exterior of the vagina, or the base of the penis).

The evidence suggests that condoms are more effective in preventing transmission of STIs that are transmitted by fluids (like gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B) and less effective in preventing transmission of those transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. However, I take the position that using condoms consistently GREATLY reduces the odds for STI transmission, period.


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