The Secret STD You Could Be At Risk For

I still cringe while watching my favorite Degrassi character Emma contract gonorrhea after performing oral sex sans condom. Lesson learned? Protect yourself (and stay away from creepy sexual encounters in vans at the ravine). 

Here’s another reason to think twice before having oral sex without protection: the increased risk of oral cancer.

An alarming rise in oral cancer amongst young people can be attributed to the increase in HPV, a common sexually transmitted virus, according to a recent report from NBC News

According to the news report, the journal “Head and Neck” published a study that found a link between the Human Papilloma Virus and the increase in nasopharynx, a type of oral cancer. HPV contracted during oral sex can increase your risk for this type of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is a serious danger. Every hour, one person dies from oral cancer. Symptoms can include painful lumps, swelling, and bleeding in your mouth. If you survive, there’s a severe possibility of permanent disfigurement. 

Changing sexual tendencies amongst younger generations are to blame for the scary health trends according to some doctors. 

In a TIME article on the subject in 2007, Dr. Robert Haddad said, “The idea that oral sex is risk-free is not correct. It comes with significant risks, and developing cancer is one of them.” Haddad is the clinical director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

To protect yourself from the risks of STD and cancer, use condoms while performing oral sex. If you’re worried about how it will affect the experience, new products like LifeStyles SKYN condoms claim the thinnest, most natural feel available. You could also try flavored condoms, like the chocolate and fruit flavored varieties from Durex. 

If you’re a woman under 26, consider getting vaccinated for HPV with GARDASIL. Many colleges and clinics offer it for free, if not at a reduced rate. No matter the product, it’s important to be responsible. If your guy complains, maybe you should move on to someone more concerned with your health – not his pleasure.

By Ali Straka, University of Missouri


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