There are many health problems that can result from practicing anilingus (rimming,) because of the presence of bacteria, viruses or parasites on or in the anus or rectum.
These include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, intestinal parasites, chlamydia infection, poliomyelitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, Herpes simplex virus, conjunctivitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
HIV/AIDS is not believed to be easily transmitted through anilingus, although experts assert that the risk exists.
Owing to disease risks, many medical professionals advise the use of dental dams when performing or receiving analingus. A makeshift dental dam can be made out of a condom. Using a real dental dam is preferable, as real dental dams are larger, and the makeshift version may be accidentally damaged during the cutting procedure. Plastic wrap may also be used, but this is less preferable because it is not designed to prevent the passage of bacteria through its material. Also, the thickness of plastic wrap can reduce sensation. Some choose to perform analingus after giving the receiving party an enema, which washes out most, if not all, feces from the rectum. However, a person who receives an enema may still have harmful microbes in his/her anus after the procedure is finished, as enemas are not designed to remove bacteria.