[Question #2546] Worried about STD/STI risk after unprotected oral

45 months ago
I'm very worried about an encounter I had 17 days ago. I'm a gay male and I very stupidly, and very much regret that I had unprotected oral with a man I met. The encounter lasted 15 minutes at most. I gave him about 2 min max of unprotected oral, didn't see any visible sores or anything, and didn't taste any precum. He gave me about a min of unprotected oral. We kissed. He rimmed me for about 15 seconds and I stopped it and then we just finished ourselves off by masturbating and then ejaculated. We didn't ejaculate on or near each other. He said he was tested in June and is STD negative. I am as well, and am in a monogamous relationship. I'm terrified by doing something this stupid, I'm risking giving something to my partner. I have managed to avoid sex with my partner the last 2 weeks. I've read lots of things via Google of how risky oral sex between men is, and I'm worried about STDs, in particular syphilis. I tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia which came back negative, but I'm so worried about syphilis. I'm approaching 21 days and no visible signs of a sore/chancre in my mouth or on my penis. I have contacted the one-time-only guy I did this with, and he keeps assuring me he has no reason to lie about his std status and is being up front with me as he wouldn't want me to get anything or pass anything to my partner. I'm just VERY scared about mostly syphilis since other tests came back negative. Should I test for it this coming week? Thank you for your help. I regret what I've done and have been beating myself up over it for these last 17 days. Your help is appreciated.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  Guilt is a powerful force that sometimes amplifies concerns.  While there is an ongoing epidemic of syphilis among men with other male sex partners, the disease remains rather rare and is rarely transmitted by oral sex.  This year there will only be about 20,000 cases of new syphilis in out nation of over 300,000,000 people.  Further, when asked about STIs and risky behaviors, most people do tell they truth.  Finally, when syphilis develops, the lesion (called a chancre) appears within about 21 days.   While I appreciate your concern, with all of the information you have provided, I would really not be too worried and would not hesitate to suggest that it is OK to have sex with your regular partner.  

I hope my comments are reassuring and helpful.  EWH
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45 months ago
Hi, Dr. Hook, Thank you so VERY much. I sincerely appreciate the time you've spent in response to my concerns. This makes me feel overwhelmingly better, and that I don't need to put off having regular sex with my partner. It was and forever will be a ONE time event, that I've felt extreme guilt over those few minutes of stupidity. Thank you for the facts/statistics about STIs and the relatively low risk of transmission through oral sex. I have one follow up question. It just so happens I'm having my annual checkup with my primary dr on Thursday. Should I have him run a full STI panel while I'm there? And if so, the chances of syphilis are still very low, right? I just don't want to drive myself crazy with worry until the results come through. Again, thank you for your help and reassurance. I very much appreciate it!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
Thanks for your thanks.  I'm pleased that my comments have been helpful.  As far as seeking STI testing when you see your regular doctor on Thursday, I would suggest STI testing on all sites of possible (i.e. unprotected) exposure in the past 6 months.  I say this not because I expect anything to be positive but because this is a good sexual health practice that I would recommend for anyone who has had more than one partner in the past 6-12 months. 

Specifically, I would suggest testing with urine (from the penis) and swabs from the throat (if you have performed oral sex on anyone) or rectum (if you have received unprotected rectal sex) as well as routine syphilis and HIV blood tests.  Again, I stress that from your history, I would not expect these tests to be positive but testing in this way is a good idea.  EWH
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45 months ago
Once again, your reassurances have been very welcome. I continue to suffer from the guilt from the experience, but I can say nothing like this will EVER happen again. I regret it every single day. I just would feel immeasurably worse if I passed something along to my partner. I will definitely have the STI tests you mentioned and continue this good sexual health practice every 6-12 months as you recommend. And I also appreciate you adding to your comments that even though you recommend the specific STI tests, that doesn't mean you expect any of the tests to be positive...I'm sure you know how guilt and my mind can latch on to certain comments and not hear/read the intent of the message that it's just good sexual health practice. I also believe, since you are an expert and though syphilis can be contracted via oral, it is rare. By reading Google and other message boards, it makes it sound like it's something that happens often via oral and I spent 17 days in panic mode and avoiding sex with my partner. UGH. So once again, THANK YOU SO very much. I still am not showing any signs/symptoms of syphilis after Day 19 since the encounter, and no visible signs of any other STIs thankfully. I appreciate all you do!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
thanks for your kind words.  I'm glad that my comments have been helpful.  I couldn't agree with you more about the great power and impact of guilt, as well as your observations about internet searches which, when it comes to health, has great power to create unnecessary concerns through taking statements out of context or overstating rare occurrences.  EWH
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