For many people, kissing is a risk-free pleasure. However, it can also spread some sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
Some STIs, like gonorrhea and syphilis, are caused by bacteria while others are caused by parasites or viruses. Getting an STD from kissing is less common than in sex, but it can happen.
Most people know that herpes can spread when someone has blisters or is shedding the virus, but did you know that herpes can also be spread through open-mouth kissing? This is more likely to happen when the herpes outbreak has just started or if there are oozing sores around the mouth.
It’s very rare to get syphilis this way, but it can occur when sores (called chancres) are present in the mouth. Syphilis is more commonly spread through anal, front hole or oral sex, but it can also be transmitted with genital contact, such as during childbirth or vaginal sex.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two more bacterial STIs that can be spread with unprotected anal, genital or oral sex. Both STIs can be treated with antibiotics, including penicillin.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection, and it’s one of the most common STDs. It’s cured with antibiotic medicine, and many people with the infection don’t even have symptoms. Chlamydia can be spread through oral, anal or genital sexual contact. It can also be transmitted through deep or French kissing, especially when someone has mouth sores or is sharing saliva with a person infected with herpes.
Chlamydia is primarily spread through unprotected vaginal or anal sex. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which includes pain and discharge, and it can interfere with fertility. In men, it can cause problems with the urethra and penis, including pain or discharge and chlamydial conjunctivitis (pink eye). Your doctor can test for chlamydia by swabbing your vagina or your urine. A prescription for antibiotics will follow the test results. You should avoid kissing until you finish your treatment.
Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite that lives in moist, dark areas of the body. It spreads when an infected person has unprotected sex. Women can get it in the lower genital tract (vulva, cervix, or vagina) and men can get it inside their penis (urethra).
It’s not clear why some people infected with trichomoniasis don’t have symptoms. It probably depends on things like age and overall health. However, even without symptoms, a person can still pass trichomoniasis to others.
The infection is curable with antibiotics. Usually, doctors prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole. Make sure you take the full course of medication. It’s also important that your current and past sexual partners take the medicine, too. This will help prevent future infections and give your partner the best chance of not getting trich, too. If you’re pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor about this before taking the medication because trich can cause babies to be born too early or with low birth weight.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids, including saliva. It can cause painful blisters in the mouth and genital area. Some people may not have any symptoms and don’t know they are infected. Hepatitis B can also lead to liver disease. Hepatitis B can be prevented by getting vaccinated and practicing safe sex. It is also important to use a condom during sexual activity, and wash hands after touching someone else’s dirty objects, including dishes, towels, and razors.
Some STIs can’t be spread through kissing, including chlamydia, HIV, and gonorrhea. These STIs are spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex without barrier methods and semen.
One of the few STIs that can be spread through kissing is HPV, which most commonly causes genital warts. It can also lead to cervical cancer in some people. It’s most likely to be passed through mouth-to-mouth contact and may spread more quickly if the person has an HSV-1 outbreak.
HSV-2, more commonly known as genital herpes, is often spread through sexual contact but it can be passed through mouth-to-mouth contact too. It’s especially contagious when the sores are oozing or bleeding, and even without symptoms, it can be spread to others.
Syphilis can be spread through open-mouth kissing and through touching the front hole (anal). It’s more likely to be passed on through vaginal, oral or anal sex, though, and it can cause problems in the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes including pelvic inflammatory disease. Getting diagnosed and treated early can prevent long-term problems.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread by the Treponema pallidum bacteria. The earliest sign of syphilis is one or more painless sores, called chancres, on the genitals, anus, rectum, or mouth. People rarely pass syphilis through oral or anal sex, and they typically don’t get it by kissing.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be spread through oral or anal sex, but only when there are active sores. The virus can also be spread by touching a sore or by sharing saliva, but only during an outbreak.
Syphilis can be very dangerous and life-threatening, especially if it goes untreated. It can cause long-term problems with your heart, nerves, and eyes and may lead to brain damage, paralysis, or dementia. It can also be passed from infected mothers to their infants during pregnancy or childbirth. Syphilis can also lead to tertiary syphilis, which can cause severe problems with your blood vessels and can cause bulging of the aorta.