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Transmission of Nonviral Sexually Transmitted Infections and Oral Sex


Andrea Ballini, BSc, Department of Dental Sciences and Surgery University of Bari “Aldo Moro,” Bari 70124, Italy. Fax: +39 (080) 5478043; E-mail:


Introduction.  Oral sex is usually considered a lower-risk sexual activity when compared with sex, but it is frequently the cause of sexually transmitted infections (STI). In particular, STI transferred through oral sex might have no visible symptoms, depending on the type of infection.

Aims.  The aim of this study is to review the literature about the role of oral sex in the transmission of nonviral STI.

Main Outcome Measures.  State-of-the-art information in the area of STI in relation to sexual function and self–care, this last important for development of STI prevention products such as vaginal microbicides. Sexual behaviors assessed focusing on receiving oral sex and giving oral sex.

Methods.  A search of the main electronic databases including registers of clinical controlled trials was performed in addition to a hand search of the most relevant Journals. The following electronic databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, Google Scholar, literature review of research articles, and public health department Internet Web sites, for the period of 1945–2011. In addition to searching the Clinical Trials Registry at the US National Institutes of Health, we also used the meta Register of Controlled Trials and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.

Results.  STI affect the mucous membranes both directly and indirectly producing characteristic diagnostic signs and lesions. Daily dental clinical activity needs an appropriate knowledge of any kind of oral lesions-related STI. The reader is offered a practical approach with clinically relevant recommendations that may prove useful in his/her daily practice when dealing with STI.

Conclusions.  These data provide a foundation for understanding diverse STI. We advise physicians to be receptive to discuss sexuality issues and provide patients with adequate therapy. Ballini A, Cantore S, Fatone L, Montenegro V, De Vito D, Pettini F, Crincoli V, Antelmi A, Romita P, Rapone B, Miniello G, Perillo L, Grassi FR, and Foti C. Transmission of nonviral sexually transmitted infections and oral sex. J Sex Med 2012;9:372–384.