Pillow Talk with Diana: Chlamydia, Herpes, and HPV, Oh My!
Q: I gave head to a guy I met when I was studying abroad, and now I’m worried about STDs. We didn’t use a condom, but he didn’t orgasm. Should I still get tested?
A: Don’t get yourself too worked up over it, but yes, you should get tested. Really, you should get tested after every new sexual partner (yes, oral sex counts). I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not a doctor–which is especially why you should see one–but I do strongly urge you to go get tested, for your health and more so, your peace of mind.
The greater the quantity of infected semen you’re exposed to, the greater the chances are that you may have something–of course, that’s assuming in the first place that the guy even has an STD. Since he didn’t ejaculate, you were at most, only exposed to pre-cum–so yes, it’s technically possible you caught something if he was infected, but the risk is low.
For something like HIV or hepatitis B, which is passed through the bloodstream, you would have to have had abrasions or cuts in your mouth (from a dental visit or biting your tongue, for example.) The same isn’t true for genital warts or herpes, which can spread through contact with the lesion. Even if you inspected his package with a microscope before going downtown, and you’re sure you didn’t see anything suspicious, remember that it’s still possible (but not super likely) to catch something even if there is no active, visible outbreak.
Haven’t convinced you yet? Let’s put it this way–even if you do end up testing positive, it’s not a death sentence. But not getting tested at all can be. We all know how HIV ends, but there are other STDs, like HPV and clamydia (both of which often have no symptoms at all), which if left untreated, can lead to cervical cancer or infertility. I’m assuming you plan on having sex at some point again the in the future. Something like chlamydia can be easily treated, but if you don’ t know you have it, you’ll just end up passing it back and forth with your partner, until it may be too late.
The purpose of all that was not to scare you, but I think having the facts reminds us how easy it is to spread infections to others, and how important it is to use protection and get tested regularly. So make an appointment and get tested–when it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss.