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Birth Control, Pregnancy & STDs

Can You Get an STD From Kissing?

Can you catch an STD like herpes or HIV from kissing someone?

Yes, you can catch herpes just from kissing someone on the mouth. And while experts believe the risk of catching HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) from kissing is low, someone who has a cut or sore in the mouth has a chance of infection during open-mouthed kissing.

The tricky thing about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is that you can’t always see if someone has one. Even when you don’t see signs of an STD, an infected person can pass the infection along.

STDs can be transmitted through all types of sex, including oral sex. Mouth-to-genital contact can spread many STDs, including HIV, both from giving and receiving oral sex. So guys receiving oral sex should use a condom and girls receiving oral sex should use a dental dam. And anyone who has had sex should be tested for STDs.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, MSN, WHNP-BC
Date reviewed: January 2015

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.