Q: Sometimes, I casually kiss my friends — my male friends. I don’t usually go beyond that. But I fear that I may be exposing myself too much. Should I be worried? Is there any disease I should be concerned about? [Paraphrased]
A: First, on a general note, I would like to say that the risk of getting a serious disease from kissing is indeed quite small.
However, when the kiss gets “deeper”, (what is sometimes called “french kiss” or “open-mouth kiss”), where saliva is exchanged, the risk gets higher; and even higher when there is a wound or cut in the mouth, and when there are bleeding gums.
Next, generally, air-borne diseases and those found in the saliva (and body fluids) could easily be transmitted by kissing. There are so many of such diseases—some deadly; most, common and mild.
Here are few things you could “catch”:
>>> Cold, flu, and sore-throat; cold-sores (fever blisters); Gum diseases;
>>> Tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, etc. (even though, other important conditions are needed)
>>> Hepatitis B, hepatitis A, hepatitis C, etc. (even though other means of transmission are more common)
>>> Gonorrhea, syphilis, and other similar STDs, (especially if partner practices oral sex).
>>> Lassa fever and Ebola Virus Disease. [God forbid bad thing!]
>>> And…rarely, rarely HIV/AIDS. If, as we mentioned, there are cuts, wounds, sore, bleeding (and swollen) gums, etc. the risk slightly increases. Slightly.
[Read: “WHAT CAN I “CATCH” FROM KISSING?” for more information.]
Be careful what you do with your mouth!