AccordingÂ to a study presentedÂ at this week’s American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting (AAAS)Â oral sex may be more of an oral cancer risk then regular tobacco use.
ManyÂ adolescentsÂ think that oral sex is safer then regularÂ intercourseÂ but many of the same risks apply including the risk of contracting an STD. In fact, in the study it was found that when most peopleÂ engageÂ in oral sex the rate of protection use such as condom usageÂ dramaticallyÂ decreases leaving themÂ vulnerableÂ to become infected with a cancer causing STD known asÂ the human papillomavirus or HPV.
HPV is the most prevalent STD in the United States with an estimated 20 million people infected with the virus and almost 6 million newly infected people each year. The virus can cause genital, anal, and throat warts and is the leading cause of cervical cancer.Â AccordingÂ to the CDC most people that areÂ carryingÂ the virus don’t realize it making it easier to pass along unknowingly to sexual partners which is one of the reasons it is so common especiallyÂ amongÂ people with multiple partners. According toÂ Dr. Maura Gillson “Someone who has had six or more partners during his or her life time has eight times the risk of developing this type of cancer”, she said.
According to the study 64% of mouth and oral throat cancers or Oropharynxl cancers have been linked to and caused by HPV trumpingÂ tobaccoÂ smoking and chewingÂ tobaccoÂ related cancers. In fact over 5% of all cancers throughout the world are caused by the same virus.
There areÂ measuresÂ you can take to greatly reduce your risk of contracting HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases includingÂ abstinence, aÂ mutually monogamous relationship, and regular condom usage even when engaging in oral, vaginal, and anal sex (this includes female condoms). For those that don’t know there is also a vaccineÂ Gardasil that prevents four of the highest risk strains of the virus (6, 11, 16, 18) the vaccine wasÂ originallyÂ only approved for young women but hasÂ recentlyÂ been approved for men as well.