Can You Get an STD Without Having Sex?

The “S” in STD stands for sexually transmitted, so it’s understandable that many people assume they can only get an STD from having sex. But in fact, the infections can spread through other activities like kissing or eating contaminated food.

STIs are caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. The most common ways to catch them include vaginal, oral and anal sex, but they can also spread through casual contact and indirect contact.

1. Skin-to-Skin Contact

One of the most common ways that STIs spread is through skin-to-skin contact. This can include kissing, oral sex and using the same toothbrush or toothpaste, among other things. Several types of STIs, including genital herpes, chlamydia and HPV, can be transmitted this way. These infections can also be spread by sharing clothing, towels and utensils like razors.

There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection through skin-to-skin contact, including using condoms during sex and practicing safe sex. This means limiting the number of sex partners and waiting a certain amount of time before engaging in sexual activity. It’s also important to avoid recreational drugs and alcohol when engaging in sexual activities.

Practicing safe sex and getting regular testing can help prevent the spread of STDs. If you’re diagnosed with an STI, medical treatment can decrease symptoms and decrease the chance of complications from the infection. Keeping an open line of communication with your partner about sexual health is another great way to decrease your risk for STIs and promote overall sexual wellness.

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2. Indirect Contact

If you’re not familiar with STIs and how they spread, you might be surprised to learn that some of them can also be passed through non-sexual contact. This includes kissing, genital touching, and sharing sex toys. STIs can be spread through these methods, including herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, even when the people involved aren’t sexually active.

If not treated, some STIs can lead to infertility or organ damage. Some STIs can also increase your risk of getting other infections such as HIV or certain types of cancer.

Many people mistakenly believe that you can get an STD from a toilet seat, swimming pool, or shaking someone’s hand. But these myths are false. STDs are mainly transmitted through sexual contact and by sharing personal items, blood, or needles. However, STIs can also spread through indirect contact, such as skin-to-skin contact or by sharing food or drink. Using condoms and dental dams during masturbation, or oral or anal sex, can help reduce the risk of an infection. Keeping sex toys clean and avoiding unwashed cutlery, straws, or drinking vessels is another way to minimize your chances of infection.

3. Sharing Contaminated Food

Although most people think STDs can only be spread through penetrative sex, many STIs can also be transmitted through non-sexual contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. These bodily fluids can include saliva, genital secretions, blood, and even ejaculate. This can occur through a variety of activities including oral sex, sharing a toothbrush, or even foreplay that doesn’t involve penetration.

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Moreover, you can also catch an STD from sharing food that has been contaminated by someone else’s body fluids. For example, HIV-infected people can pass the virus on by biting into a sandwich that has been bitten into by an unprotected partner. And the parasites that cause trichomoniasis can be spread by sharing damp towels and sheets.

It’s important to know about these unusual ways to get an STI so you can take the proper precautions and protect yourself from infection. By following the simple steps of getting regular testing, practicing safe sex, and staying open with your partners about sexual health, you can help prevent transmission and reduce the number of new infections each year.

4. Borrowing Unclean Towels

Using a towel that may have come in contact with someone else’s body fluids can lead to the transmission of certain STDs. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Additionally, sharing towels can lead to the spread of parasites like lice and genital warts.

The good news is that most STDs cannot survive on dry surfaces for very long, so the risk of getting an STD from a used towel is relatively low. However, it’s important to be mindful of the risk and practice good hygiene by using your own towels and washing them regularly.

It’s also important to get regular STD tests, as some STDs have a long incubation period and can go undetected for a while. Some of the most common STDs in the United States are chlamydia, genital herpes, and syphilis. Practicing safe sex and asking current and past sex partners about their STD status can significantly reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, it’s important to remember that if you have an STD, you should tell all of your sex partners about it.

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5. Sexual Intercourse

When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), many people think that only penetrative sex can spread them. While this is the most common way to catch and pass on STIs, there are plenty of other ways that infections can be spread.

Some STDs, like herpes and syphilis, can be spread through casual kissing and oral sex. Others, like chlamydia and HIV, can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or blood-to-blood contact, such as when sharing razors and needles. Still others, such as trichomoniasis and crabs, can be passed on through indirect contact.

In fact, if a mother has an untreated STI during pregnancy or breastfeeding, she can also transmit them to her infants. That’s why it’s important for everyone to use protection and to get screened regularly. If you’re concerned that you may have an STI, order tests today at a nearby Rapid STD Testing clinic. We’ll help you throughout the entire testing and treatment process. Don’t wait to find out if you have an infection that can cause infertility, organ damage or even certain types of cancer.

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