A reproductive health expert by name, Dr Kema Onu, has warned that the practice of oral sex should be reduced as it increases the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Onu, who is the Site Coordinator of Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an international NGO, gave the warning in an interview in Abuja on Friday. According to him, most STIs, such as herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis could be spread through oral sex.
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“Herpes is a common STI, which can result to ulcer in the anus; that is why oral sex is not always accepted. An individual could transmit what is in the anus down to the mouth and result to oral herpes,’’ Onu said.
Sexually transmitted infections as the name implies, are diseases that are passed from one person to another through unprotected sex or genital contact. Oral sex is when someone puts his or her lips, mouth or tongue on a man’s penis, a woman’s genitals, which includes the clitoris, vulva or anus. This is a form of unprotected sexual contact and can lead to the transmission of STIs.
However, Onu explained that the chances of giving or getting STIs during oral sex could be lowered by using a condom. He pointed out that the human body was filled with billions of micro organisms with different bacteria resident in various parts of the body. According to the coordinator, the bacteria in the mouth are different from the ones in the ear or any part of the body. The ones that naturally habit the mouth are called commensals, and If in any case finds its way to another part of the body, it becomes pathogenic and causes harm to its host. Onu also explained that diagnosis of STIs is very difficult, as they evaded the immune system and would only be noticed after they have caused damage to the system, so staying safe is the best remedy for now.
He added that most STIs are treatable while some have no cure, such as herpes, genital warts and HIV. He also said that STIs could lead to related conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer and complications in pregnancy as well as socio-economic consequences. The treatment of most infected women with such infections would drastically reduce the chances of transmission in the environment.
“The most common of the infection is syphilis; women have a higher chance of contracting STIs from men than from women to the men. Every woman experiences a vagina discharge but it is important to know if the discharge is normal or abnormal. When a woman begins to experience a foul smell in her discharge, itching, watering in texture that one have to use a pad, such is abnormal. However, normal discharge is white while an abnormal is pinkish, yellowish or greenish in colour,’ he said.
Mr Onu advised that early diagnosis, curative or suppressive therapy and promotion of safer sexual behavior were some measures to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases that could arise from both oral sex and other forms of sexual intercourse.
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