You probably do your best to avoid STDs (or STIs, aka sexually transmitted infections) by using protection and getting tested regularly. But what about kissing—can you get an STI from lip contact? Only certain STDs, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are transmittable through kissing. Two common ones are herpes simplex virus (HSV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Kissing can be one of the most exciting parts of a relationship. But you may also feel wary of kissing if you’re with someone for the first time. The best way to avoid getting an STD/STI from kissing is to have a direct, transparent conversation about it with your partner. This can be intimidating, but setting boundaries early can help you avoid an infection.
Here are 3 types of STI that can be contracted through kissing.
Herpes; Both Herpes viruses cause lifelong infections. A person with either infection can experience symptom-free periods followed by symptoms. Herpes is most contagious when symptoms are present, but a person can still pass it on when they are asymptomatic. Most people with oral herpes have an HSV-1 infection. This causes sores, painful blisters, or ulcers to form in, on, or around the mouth or lips.
Cytomegalovirus; Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a viral infection that can be passed on through contact with saliva that contains the virus. It can also be transmitted through the following fluids that contain CMV: urine, blood, semen, and breast milk. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, and sore throat.
Syphilis; Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can also be spread through kissing if your partner is experiencing open sores or a skin rash. The best way to avoid contracting this STD is to use protection and to avoid sexual contact with anyone who may be experiencing the symptoms.
Gonorrhea; Experts still aren’t sure exactly how kissing transmits gonorrhea. One theory is that you can contract oral gonorrhea from kissing someone whose saliva contains the bacteria, but how much saliva-swapping would do this is unclear.
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