Not all oral sex leads to cancer. So if you are having oral sex with your regular partner and both of you are disease-free, there is no need to worry. Go ahead and enjoy. However, if you are low on immunity and have had it with multiple partners frequently, chances are that it is risky.
"It seems like a pretty good link that more sexual activity, particularly oral sex, is associated with increased HPV infection," University of Wisconsin cancer expert Dr Greg Hartig told US medical news service HealthDay.
More oral sex
The more partners you have unprotected oral sex with, the more risk you run of catching HPV. Some people start having oral sex in their early teens, and with multiple partners.
"I don't know why they're having more oral sex,” says Dr Hartig, “but the concept of having oral sex is something that seems less obscure to you than it did to your parents or grandparents."
Smoking is still the biggest cause of most head and neck cancers. And in fact fewer people are getting these kinds of cancers overall, because fewer people are smoking, at least in the US, says Dr William Lydiatt cancer specialist at the University of Nebraska. But tonsil and tongue cancer are on the increase in the US, the doctor says, and the HPV virus is to blame.
The good news is that in 90 percent of cases the immune system kicks out the HPV virus naturally within a couple of years. And there’s also a vaccine against HPV. Some countries have a vaccination programme for girls, aimed at preventing cervical cancer, which is still by far the biggest HPV-related killer.
Condoms and dental dams can also cut the risk of catching the HPV virus during oral sex. And condoms also help protect against the virus during intercourse.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.
Would you say oral sex is a trend among young people where you live? And do you use a condom or dental dam if you have oral sex? Let us know. Comment below or share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.