STD Transmission Rates

Many public school sexual education programs, in my experience, give a message akin to that in Mean Girls, “…if you touch each other, you will get chlamydia, and DIE!” That is, these programs seem to emphasize safe sex practices in all sexual encounters–use condoms for intercourse/anal sex, condoms for fellatio, and dental dams for cunnilingus. However, in popular media (including porn), and in conversations with people, the use of safe sex methods in oral sex seems to be de-emphasized relative to the importance of safe sex in penetration.

Why is there this discrepancy? I have the impression that the transmission rates for various STDs via oral transmission are significantly lower than penetrative acts. I’ve tried, and can find no evidence for this, so I was hoping that some Dopers could come up with some reliable sources, if this phenomenon does indeed exist.