Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 74 (2), 95-100

Oral Sex and Transmission of Non-Viral STIs


Oral Sex and Transmission of Non-Viral STIs

S Edwards et al. Sex Transm Infect.


Objectives: To review the literature on the role of oral sex in the transmission of non-viral sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Method: A Medline search was performed using the keywords oro-genital sex, and those specific to each infection. Further references were then taken from each article read.

Conclusions: Oral sex is a common sexual practice between both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Oro-genital sex is implicated as a route of transmission for gonorrhoea, syphilis, Chlamydia trachomatis, chancroid, and Neisseria meningitidis. Other respiratory organisms such as streptococci, Haemophilus influenzae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae could also be transmitted by this route. Fellatio confers risk for acquisition of infection by the oral partner. Cunnilingus appears to predispose to recurrent vaginal candidiasis although the mechanism for this is unclear, while a link between oro-genital sex and bacterial vaginosis is currently being studied. Oro-anal sex is implicated in the transmission of various enteric infections. In view of the increased practice of oral sex this has become a more important potential route of transmission for oral, respiratory, and genital pathogens.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 35 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. JAMA. 1981 Dec 11;246(23):2717-9 - PubMed
    1. N Engl J Med. 1974 Nov 28;291(22):1194 - PubMed
    1. Sex Transm Dis. 1991 Apr-Jun;18(2):72-5 - PubMed
    1. Br J Vener Dis. 1974 Oct;50(5):367-9 - PubMed
    1. Can Med Assoc J. 1975 May 17;112(10):1181-3 - PubMed