Intimate Care

STD In The Throat: From Symptoms To Treatments- All You Need To Know About It

Did you know that you can get an STD in the throat? A sore throat after unprotected sex can be more than that.

Written by Ravina K

On Mar 19, 2023 – 9 minutes read

STD in throat

Eating healthy and staying physically active are not the only things required to stay in the pink of your health, there is one more thing that is equally essential- practicing safe sex.

Unprotected sex not only puts you at risk of unwanted pregnancy but also increases the risk of getting STDs. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)- also referred to as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)- are a group of infections developed through sexual contact- vaginal, oral, or anal. When it comes specifically to an STD in the throat, it is caused by having oral sex with a partner infected with some specific bacteria, virus, or parasite.

STD In The Throat

STDs in the throat can be passed on from an infected person to a healthy individual by the exchange of bodily fluid or skin-to-skin contact with the genitals. When the fluid from the genital or the genital tissue comes in contact with the tissue in the mouth, the STI-causing pathogens enter the throat via the mouth putting the person at risk of developing STDs. Similarly, a person with STDs in the throat or mouth can also pass the disease to his/her partner while performing oral sex or kissing. 

STD In The Throat

While most STDs can be easily treated by taking medications, one may have to deal with severe long-term health consequences if the infection is left untreated. It can lead to infertility, complicated pregnancies, cervical cancer, birth defects, and others. The best way to protect yourself from STDs is by using latex condoms whenever getting intimate and being aware of the signs of common STDs in the throat because sometimes even when you practice safe sex, you can come in contact with STIs. So, let’s learn more about the common types of STD infection in the throat and its symptoms.

Which STDs Can You Get In Your Throat?

There are more than 30 types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause STIs. But not all of them affect the throat. Some common types of STD infections in the throat are:

  • Chlamydia: Chlamydia is the most common type of STD in the throat. The bacterial infection caused by chlamydia trachomatis, when it affects the throat, is known as pharyngeal chlamydia infection. Though the condition is common, it does not show any symptoms in most cases, which makes it difficult to detect the condition in the initial stage. Some possible symptoms of the condition are white spots and redness at the back of the throat and swollen tonsils. 
  • Gonorrhea: Just like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea is also a bacterial infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. One can get Gonorrhea through oral sex or kissing. The condition may even affect the eyes and can cause eye pain, itching, and sensitivity to light. When it affects the throat it may lead to a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, irritation, and redness, or lesions at the back of the throat.
Which STDs Can You Get In Your Throat?
  • Syphilis: Caused by Treponema pallidum, the initial symptoms of syphilis appear in the form of sores, also known as chancres. The infection can be passed on by coming in direct contact with syphilitic sores. These sores commonly appear on the genitals, rectum, lips, the tip of the tongue, the gum, and the back of the mouth near the tonsils and can get worse if left untreated.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): HPV is a viral infection that can infect the mouth and throat. In rare cases, it can even cause cancer of the oropharynx termed oropharyngeal cancer. There is no treatment available for this infection at present, but the virus goes away on its own within a year of getting the infection. The symptoms of the condition are similar to other STDs. 
  • Herpes: Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) is another viral infection that leads to herpes. When the virus affects the throat, it is known as herpes esophagitis. Most people with a weak immune system or diagnosed with some autoimmune conditions are at risk of developing herpes.

Causes And Risk Factors Of STD In The Throat

STD in the throat is caused by different kinds of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens passed on from an infected person to a healthy person through the exchange of bodily fluid or skin-to-skin contact with genitalia during oral sex or kissing(1). Although, anyone engaged in unprotected sex can get an STD in the throat from an infected partner, those with a compromised immune system due to any autoimmune conditions or underlying health conditions are at greater risk. 

How Long Does It Take To Get An STD In Your Throat? 

The STD in the throat symptoms appears within a week of the initial infection. But in some cases, the signs of STDs do not show up, which delays the overall treatment process. 

How Long Does A Throat STI last?

The duration of STDs varies on the type of infection and your immune system. With proper treatments and precautions, one can recover from the condition within one or two weeks. However, the type of treatment also plays a role in speedy recovery. 

One can recover from bacterial infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia within a week by taking antibiotics(2). But it is essential to complete the entire course of the antibiotic to ensure that the infection is fully treated. In the case of viral infection, STD in the throat can be managed with antiviral and pain medication. In any case, it is requisite to get proper treatment for STDs to avoid any serious health complications later in life.

What Are The Symptoms Of STD In The Throat?

Detecting the symptoms of STDs in the throat is a complex one as in most cases of infection, there are no signs or if there are, they are similar to that of a sore throat. So, if you have been involved in unprotected oral sex or have kissed someone, look out for these signs of an STD in the back of the throat: 

  • Soreness in the throat
  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Swollen tonsils and lymph nodes
  • Redness in the back of the throat
What Are The Symptoms Of STD In The Throat?

How To Test For STD In The Throat?

Not all STDs in the throat show signs. Some are asymptomatic and can go unnoticed for a long time. Even when symptoms of an STD in the back of the throat show up, they are similar to cough and sore throat. If you suspect that you have STD then visit your doctor for confirmation.

The doctor may ask you to go through a variety of tests including urine, blood, swab, and Pap smear test to confirm the cause of the infection, following which you will be prescribed the right course of medication.

How To Test For STD In The Throat?

As STDs do not show any symptoms, it is advised for sexually active women and men to visit the doctor for STI screening at least once a year. Even pregnant women should go through the screening to avoid any complications later. 

How To Treat STD In The Throat?

The course of treatment for STDs is determined after detecting the type of infection. Different types of treatments are prescribed for infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. If you have a sore throat and pain in the throat, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and antiviral drugs for relief.

Mouth rinse can also help to soothe sore cracks and irritation. However, it is recommended to get full treatment to recover from the condition to avoid spreading the infection to your partner in the future and to protect oneself from other health-related complications. 

If you do not witness any signs of STDs, do not worry as some infections in the throat can go away on their own in a while. But it is better to be safe than sorry. So, go for regular screening if you are sexually active, have multiple partners, or have recently got involved in unprotected sex. 

Prevention Of STD In The Throat

There are many ways to protect yourself from STDs. Firstly, practice safe sex. Use latex condoms when getting intimate. This will help to reduce the risk of infection transmitted through oral sex. Secondly, have an open conversation with your partner.

Try to know if they have been diagnosed with any STDs recently or if they have STD-related symptoms. Thirdly, maintain your oral hygiene. If you witness any kind of soreness, liaison, itching, or burning sensation in your mouth, throat, or back of the throat, visit your doctor immediately. 

FAQ On STD In Throat

How do you know if you have an STD in your throat?

The STD in the throat symptoms is similar to that of other conditions leading to a sore throat. This makes it difficult to detect the condition in the initial stage. However, if you have recently engaged in oral sex or have kissed someone suffering from STD, pay attention to the signs of sore throat, pain, and discomfort as they can be signs of STD in the throat. In such cases, consult your doctor immediately.

Are throat STDs curable?

In most cases, throat STDs cannot be detected due to a lack of symptoms. If it does appear, it is generally a week later after being exposed to the pathogens. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can be treated with the right dose of antibiotics and viral and parasitic STDs can be treated with a combination of pain relief medications. For complete recovery, it is essential to complete the course, or else the infection can return after some time.

What is the most common STD in the throat?

Chlamydia is the most common type of STD detected in the throat. The condition is more common among youngsters with about two-thirds of chlamydia infections detected in the age group of 15-24 years. It is a kind of bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. The common signs of chlamydia in the throat are white spots in the back of the throat, swollen tonsils, strep throat, and pain. The condition can be easily treated with the right dose of antibiotics, provided the person completes the entire dose. It generally takes one or two weeks to recover from this type of STD in the throat.

What happens if you have an STD in your throat?

STDs do not always cause any symptoms. In most cases, it remains undetected and untreated. If they do show any signs and symptoms, they are similar to sore throat and throat inflammation. In severe cases, they can even cause inflammation, redness, lesions, and burning sensation in the mouth, throat, and back of the throat. Untreated STDs can make it difficult to swallow and talk.

Can you get an STD from going down on a woman?

Yes, STDs can be passed from one person to the other through vaginal, oral, or anal sex with the exchange of bodily fluid from an infected partner. If the woman is infected with STD pathogens, then by engaging in oral sex with the woman, you are at risk of developing the same.

Final Thoughts

One might not realize this, but STDs in the throat are quite common across the globe. Due to minimal signs and overlapping symptoms with other throat-related infections, the condition often goes unnoticed. In some cases, mild STDs can go away on their own after some weeks, but severe and untreated STDs can lead to other health-related complications. 

So, to stay healthy and fit, practice safe sex, get regular screening for STDs and have an open conversation with your partner regarding STDs to know about the symptoms and history. If you develop any soreness in the throat within a week after kissing or engaging in oral sex, seek professional help. For those who are sexually active, it is best to get regular screening for STDs. It is also essential for women to get a test for STDs when trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy. 

  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d). STD Risk and Oral Sex – CDC Fact Sheet. Available (Online) at:,cause%20chlamydia%20in%20the%20throat.*
  2. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Does chlamydia stay in the body after it’s been cured?. Available (Online) at:

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Hi there, I am Ravina! I am a storyteller, who loves to write about lifestyle, politics, and social issues. Writing for me is like meditating as it helps me connect with my inner self and everything around me. It is a medium to express my thoughts and feelings. When not writing, I can be found reading, painting or admiring the beauty of nature.

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