Background/introduction The pharynx is the most common site of gonorrhoea among men who have sex with men (MSM) and may serve as a reservoir for infection, with saliva implicated in transmission possibly through oral sex, kissing, and rimming. Reducing sexual activities involving saliva may reduce pharyngeal gonorrhoea however strategies that target the oral cavity warrant investigation.
Aim(s)/objectives This study aimed to explore MSM’s views and knowledge of pharyngeal gonorrhoea, their willingness to change saliva transmitting sexual practices and the acceptability of using mouthwash to reduce transmission.
Methods 30 MSM, recruited from a sexual health clinic in Melbourne, Australia, were interviewed face to face or by telephone.
Results Most men considered pharyngeal gonorrhoea non-serious and attributed transmission to saliva and oral ejaculate. Most men would not stop kissing (n = 25), oral sex (n = 26), or consider using condoms for oral sex (n = 25) to reduce their risk of gonorrhoea. Kissing and oral sex were common and considered enjoyable but regarded as low risk sexual activities. Men were more likely to consider stopping sexual activities they did not enjoy or practice often including rimming (n = 21) and using saliva as a lubricant for anal sex (n = 28). If proven effective, most men reported they would use a mouthwash to reduce or prevent their risk of pharyngeal gonorrhoea.
Discussion/conclusion MSM are unlikely to stop sexual practices they enjoy and consider low risk. The findings from this study highlight the need for further exploration of innovative strategies such as mouthwash to reduce their risk of pharyngeal gonorrhoea.