[Question #1404] Oral sex from girl with cold

46 months ago
Had protected sex with this girl i just met and received oral sex very briefly (20 sec).  During sex she was coughing and ask her if she is sick...she told she is at the end of a cold virus.  I asked her if she had sore throat which she told me yes.  Now im freaking out if she had an infection, what are the odds that she gave me NGU or other infectiom from this episode. I need reasurance, freaking out and im in a relationship with another girl. Should i be worried? Thanks
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question. I'll try to help.

You are at little or no risk for a standard STD. There are no STDs that cause typical cold symptoms, so you can safely assume that wasn't the cause of your partner's sore throat. It is far more likely she had a standard cold virus. Second, condoms work -- any infection she was carrying would not have been transmitted through the condom.

Of course any time you're close enough to someone to have sex of any kind, you're also close enough to catch a cold, especially if your contact included any kissing. So you might expect to start having your own cold symptoms (nasal conjestion, maybe sore throat, cough, etc), but it won't be from an STD.

Your mention of NGU suggests you might be aware that on rare occasions, some cold viruses can cause NGU. Specifically, some colds are caused by adenovirus, and some types of adenovirus can transmitted to the urethra by oral sex and cause NGU. But the condom would have protected you against this. If you don't develop penile discharge with painful urination in the next week, you'll be home free.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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46 months ago
Had oral sex without condom...so now im even more worried :-)   Feel a tongling on tip of penis...maybe just a symptoms of anxiety.  So you're saying odds of very low for NGU from oral, 1 episode.  Thanks for answering :-)
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
Sorry, I misunderstood:  I assumed"protected" referred to both vaginal and oral sex.

Your penile "tingling" doesn't concern me. No STD causes that, but this is one of the most common symptoms reported by men with genitally focused anxiety after a sexual exposure they regret-- and whenever someone suspects his or her own symptoms have a psychological origin, usually s/he is correct.

Still, you remain at low risk. Oral sex is safe sex -- not completely free of STD risk, but low risk for all and zero risk for some. There are no data on the risk of adenviral NGU after such an exposure, but it must be quite low: as noted above, most colds aren't adenovirus infections. And if your partner indeed was near the end of her cold, she might not have been infectious.

But unfortuately, I cannot give 100% reassurance after such an exposure. You could have a urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia, which is valid any time more than 3-4 days after exposure; and wait about 10 days since exposure while on the lookout for NGU symptoms (urethral discharge, painful urination). At that time, and assuming the urine test is negative, you could safely resume sex with your regular partner. That said, the risk of any of these is truly very low. The main thing you're likely to transmit to your partner still is a common cold, if you caught your CSW's infection.

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