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Anonymous on September 30, 2011

Could my vaginal discharge have caused my partner’s throat infection after he gave me oral sex?

Since as long as I can remember, I've always had some light, vaginal discharge. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend performed oral sex on me for the first time. A week later, he had a high fever and his doctor diagnosed him with a "throat infection" (not strep). Did my discharge cause this infection and is it an STD?

answered by
Lisa Oldson, MD on September 30, 2011

Thank you for sharing your concern. I’m happy to offer you some suggestions that will hopefully be useful to you and your boyfriend. 

First, it’s unlikely that your vaginal discharge would cause your boyfriend’s throat infection...so it could be that your boyfriend merely picked up a virus that’s unrelated to you and your vaginal discharge. 

However if you have an STD (like chlamydia or gonorrhea, in particular), there is a small possibility that you could have passed it to your boyfriend during oral sex. It’s more common, however, for gonorrhea (and less commonly chlamydia) to be spread from a man’s penis into his partner’s throat via oral sex. And women typically don’t transmit gonorrhea to their partner’s throat as easily as men do.

That said, just to be on the safe side, your boyfriend may want to re-visit his doctor and ask for a throat swab to test for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Again, however, it’s statistically more likely that your boyfriend has a viral infection that will go away on its own. 

About your discharge...have you ever consulted your doctor about it? I ask, because if you’re experiencing abnormal discharge it could be the result of an infection. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause abnormal vaginal discharge. So can some non-STD infections like yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. In other words, it’s best to speak with your doctor about your discharge to find out if it’s in the normal range or if you’re in need of treatment. 

If, after testing, it turns out that you do have an STD that’s causing your discharge ⎼ like gonorrhea or chlamydia, both of which are easily treatable and curable ⎼ it’s still unlikely that your condition caused your boyfriend’s throat infection. 

I hope this helped you understand the possible causes of your symptoms and those of your boyfriend. Good luck and I wish you both the best of health. 

Related info:

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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