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Understanding the duration of tongue kissing among female sex workers for potential oropharyngeal–oropharyngeal gonorrhoea transmission
  1. Eric P F Chow1,2,3,
  2. Chen Lew1,2,
  3. Julien Tran1,2,
  4. Tiffany R Phillips1,2,
  5. Kate Maddaford2,
  6. Christopher K Fairley1,2
  1. 1 Central Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Eric P F Chow, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia; eric.chow{at}

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Several studies have proposed that oropharyngeal gonorrhoea can be transmitted via tongue kissing (hereafter ‘kissing’) in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM).1 2 Female sex workers (FSWs) also have a high prevalence of oropharyngeal gonorrhoea.3 4 A previous study has shown that FSWs had a median of 10 male clients in an average working week and 84% of FSWs kiss at least one client in an average working week.5 Kissing has been considered a low risk for HIV and STI transmission and hence has been neglected in research. This study aimed to examine the duration of kissing among FSWs.

We performed a cross-sectional survey between 1 May 2019 and 13 March 2020 at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC), Australia. Women aged 18 years or above who self-reported working as a sex worker and attending the MSHC during the study period were invited to participate in the survey via computer-assisted self-interviewing. This survey collected information on kissing practice and the duration of kissing. This study was terminated early due …

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  • Handling editor Jamie Scott Frankis

  • Twitter @EricPFChow, @drtrphillips, @kitfairley

  • Contributors EPFC and CKF conceived and designed the study. EPFC performed data analyses and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. CL and JT performed data cleaning. KM assisted with project management. EPFC, CL, JT, TRP, KM and CKF were involved in data interpretation. All authors were involved in revising the manuscript for important intellectual content and approved the final version. The corresponding author had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.

  • Funding EPFC is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leadership Investigator Grant (GNT1172873). CKF is supported by an Australian NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant (GNT1172900).

  • Competing interests EPFC is an editorial fellow of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.