Cooties from Kissing?

Most people know that mouths are germy places. Kissing is directly tied to a few illnesses:

  • Mononucleosis is often called "the kissing disease" because it is carried in saliva and can be spread through kissing.
  • The herpes simplex 1 virus causes cold sores and is easily transmitted through kissing.
  • Although kissing doesn't necessarily cause meningitis, researchers have tracked a correlation between teenagers' number of kissing partners and likelihood of developing the disease.
  • Some researchers theorize that bacteria that cause gastric ulcers may spread through kissing.
  • It's unlikely that a person will contract the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through kissing, but the United States Centers for Disease Control has reported one case of HIV transmission contracted this way.

More on the Anatomy of a Kiss

Your body may also play a role in who you prefer to kiss. Researchers have proven that women prefer men with immune system proteins that are different from their own. In theory, having a baby with someone with different immune proteins can lead to healthier offspring. Scientists believe that a woman may be able to smell these proteins while kissing, and that what she smells may affect whether she finds her partner attractive.

Check out the links on the next page for more on kissing, the human body and related topics.