Daily Health Tips: Can Kissing Transmit Any Disease?

Q: Dr, Kissing can transmit any disease?

A: Interesting question. It depends on the way kissing is done. If this on the cheeks or forehead, you’re unlikely to contract any disease. Though a number of people believe sexually transmitted infections can be transmitted through kissing, this is not usually so. However, if kissing moves beyond the type mentioned above and gets deeper, open-mouthed in people who probably also have sores or cuts in their mouths, there’s no saying what else could be transmitted! 😀 The one disease that there is a consensus on that you can contract through kissing is cold sore.

Cold sores which are also called fever blisters are caused by a virus, Herpes Simplex. They typically occur around the mouth or under the nose and may recur in people who have had them when they have another infection like a respiratory tract infection, fever, injury to affected area, are emotionally upset, fatigued etc.

Fever blisters can cause pain in the mouth and the pain associated with this condition is worse when hot, spicy or acidic foods like lemon are taken. These sores are contagious but most times clear up without the need for medication within 7 to 10 days. Sometimes, antiviral drugs are administered. Local anesthetic drugs may help reduce the pain of the sores.

Cold sores in rare cases can also occur due to oral sex with someone who has genital herpes. This risk of contracting  infections through oral sex is increased in the presence of already existing Sexually Transmitted Infections, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and sores in the genital area.

This risk of infections through oral sex may be reduced by the use of barriers like condoms and avoiding ejaculation in the mouth. Use of pre-exposure drugs (prescribed for people at risk of HIV infection) and ensuring that anti-retroviral drugs (drugs used for the treatment of HIV) are being used correctly by partners who are HIV positive may also reduce risk of HIV infection through oral sex.

Generally for STIs, remember the ABCs. Abstain…which is always the best bet if you’re not married, be faithful to one partner (who is hopefully being faithful to you) or use condoms.

Have a good night, people 😀



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