Q:  What STDs can be transmitted through kissing?  Is it possible to detect signs of STD on another personís lips and mouth?

A:  Kissing is wonderful and exciting.  Itís also a fairly easy way to transmit a respiratory infection (like a cold) and a few other conditions. The reality is that mouth-to-mouth contact is an efficient way to spread illness.
 
Oral herpes (usually called cold sores or fever blisters) is caused by a viral infection.  The virus is called Herpes Simplex and infections may occur once or return again and again.   Herpes Simplex cold sores generally start with itchiness and tingling, followed by blisters which burst to leave open sores.  These sores crust over and eventually heal after a few days.  Scars rarely form.

Herpes can be a recurring and upsetting disease but is rarely dangerous compared to other STDs. Although there is not a cure for herpes,  appropriate treatment is effective in helping to control the disease.

Herpes infections are very common. About 80-90% of American adults have oral herpes.  Many people catch the virus in childhood through parents or family members giving the types of affectionate kisses common during early childhood.  The virus may also be acquired by sharing toothbrushes or utensils.  Many people carry the virus and donít even know it.
 
To lower your risk when kissing, do a quick visual ďinspectionĒ of the other personís lips.  Most cold sores are fairly obvious.  Ask your partner about any blisters you see.  The surest way to avoid herpes during a partnerís outbreak is to avoid mouth-to-mouth contact and oral-genital contact, too.  Herpes can be spread from the mouth to the genitals, causing genital herpes.  For more information, check out the website below:

http://www.ashastd.org/hrc/educate.html

Source: American Social Health Association