Melissa* came in to Clarity Testing Clinic with symptoms of Chlamydia—unusual vaginal discharge, burning with urination and abnormal bleeding. She wasn’t too surprised when her test result for Chlamydia was positive; her symptoms attested to it and she had recently had unprotected sex with a new partner. What she was surprised about was the fact that this new partner tested negative. After her positive test, she dutifully encouraged him to be tested and treated at his local testing center. He was treated for Chlamydia based on his sexual contact to her, but his Chlamydia test was negative.
“How can this be the case?” she asked. “He is the only partner I have had in the past year. My Chlamydia had to have come from him,” she reasoned.
We asked, “Did you receive oral sex from this new partner?” She answered, “Yes.” “Was he tested in his throat for Chlamydia?” “No, only his urine,” she answered.
A look of surprise washed over her face, when she realized that this new partner may have had Chlamydia in his throat when he performed oral sex on her, and he wasn’t tested in that site for Chlamydia.
Melissa asked, “Do you mean it is possible that he only has Chlamydia in his throat, but was only tested in his genital area through his urine?”
“Yes, it is completely possible, and in your situation, most likely the case,” we informed her. “Having every area tested that is at risk for an infection is essential,” we were sure to add.
What are some “take-aways” from Melissa’s experience?
- There is widespread thinking in today’s sex landscape that oral sex is safe. Of course, it may be safe in preventing pregnancy, but not so in the risk for STIs.
- Most STIs can be given or received through oral sex: HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hpv, hepatitis A and herpes.
- If you engage in giving and receiving oral sex, having yours and your partner’s throat tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia is recommended.
- Unprotected oral sex is the norm. The mindset of many is that this activity is safe. This particular patient acknowledged that condoms were never used in her oral sex encounters.
- Even so, it is still uncertain how effective condoms are in preventing STIs during oral sex, as there have been very few studies that show efficacy rates. Condoms may reduce the risk of an infection, but aren’t guaranteed to eliminate the risk. Choosing to abstain from sexual activity—including oral sex– until one is in a long-term, mutually faithful relationship (such as marriage) with an uninfected partner is the safest way to avoid sexually transmitted infections.
Clarity Testing Clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of STIs. In addition to excellent medical care, our medical professionals provide a listening ear and positive guidance to those in need of STI testing and treatment. Patients are made aware of the possibilities available to them and helped to find a path that doesn’t lead back to the testing clinic. Make an appointment today by visiting our Appointment Page or calling 812-418-3230.
*A fictitious patient who represents a common scenario at Clarity Testing Clinic.