Deep kissing with tongue may be a way that gonorrhea is passed on, even if romantic partners have not been otherwise sexually active, according to research from Australia.
Although the study involved only gay and bisexual men, the risk of transmitting gonorrhea orally is likely also present for heterosexuals and particularly sex workers, the study authors write in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Public health messaging has focused on condom use because most gonorrhea is thought to be transmitted during penile-anal sex among men who have sex with men. However, recent studies have suggested that sex accounts for only part of the documented cases, especially when gonorrhea occurs in the throat.
"Kissing may be riskier than previously thought," Chow told Reuters Health by email. "This may help people understand how the infection was introduced, particularly if they haven't been sexually active."
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