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Objective: To review the literature on the role of oral sex in the
transmission of viral sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Method: A Medline search was performed using the keywords
ore-genital sex, and those specific to each infection. Further
references from each article identified by Medline were also
included, as were relevant references from "Current contents"
Conclusions: Oral sex is a common sexual practice among both
heterosexual and homosexual couples. The evidence suggests that HIV
transmission can take place through ore-genital sex from penis to
mouth and vagina to mouth. Case reports describe apparent
transmission from mouth to penis although this appears less likely.
The risk of ore-genital transmission of HIV is substantially less
than from vaginal and anal intercourse. Receptive ore-genital sex
carries a small risk of human papillomavirus infection and possibly
hepatitis C, while insertive ore-genital contact is an important
risk factor for acquisition of HSV 1. Ore-anal transmission can
occur with hepatitis A and B. The transmission of other viruses may
occur but is unproved. The relative importance of oral sex as a
route for the transmission of viruses is likely to increase as
other, higher risk sexual practices are avoided for fear of
acquiring HIV infection.
AUTHOR: Edwards S, Carne C; SOURCE: SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED
INFECTIONS 74: (1) 6-10 FEB 1998
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