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Unprotected oral sex ????

Apr 9, 1997

Hello, I wrote several months ago to which you promptly replied, which I am greatful. I do have a question regarding safe sex I hope fits the context of this forumn. I am male and was diagnosed with non specific urethritis 3 days after receiving unprotected oral sex from a woman and protected vaginal sex (the condom appeared to be intact). I am still confused as to the culprit of the urethritis. Knowing that the mouth is not a clean place, can urethritis be caused by bacteria in saliva? Caused by spermicide in the condom? Or possibly a condom failure? Regardless, raised my awareness to possibility of HIV and scared me into rethinking my actions. Also gave me a good 3-4 weeks of lower abdominal/testicle discomfort.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Urethritis is more of a description of symptoms, rather than one specific disease. Urethritis means inflammation of the urethra (where you pee/urinate from). There are multiple causes of urethritis. Some causes are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Other causes can be bacterial infections that are not STD's (like urinary tract infections). Only lab testing can decipher the cause. Spermicides should not cause urethritis, although they sometimes can cause allergic responses in people who have a sensitivity to them. Without knowing what was the cause of your urethritis, it's impossible for me to comment on how you got it. When a person gets urethritis, lab testing is important to determine the cause. This is for two reasons. If the urethritis is caused by an STD, then treatment of sexual partners is necessary. It's also important to know the cause in order to know which antibiotic to use for treatment (not all antibiotics work against all infections).

So in summary, urethritis can be caused by different infections. Some are sexually transmitted, and others not. Only lab testing can determine the cause of urethritis, and therefore it's treatment. And remember that receiving oral sex is extremely low risk as far as HIV is concerned.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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