How Can You Get an STD From Someone Who Has Never Been Sexually Active?

According to the CDC, 20 million new cases of reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur each year. HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are among the most common.

But can you get an STD from someone who has never been sexually active? Yes, and it’s possible because of incubation periods and asymptomatic infections.

1. Skin-to-Skin Contact

There is a common misconception that STIs can only spread through sexual contact, but this is not the case. Some STIs, such as oral and genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), can also spread through skin-to-skin contact. This happens when the mucous membranes, open lesions and infected skin cells of an infected person come into contact with the skin of an uninfected person. Other STDs, such as scabies and molluscum contagiosum, can also spread through skin-to-skin transmission.

Moreover, it’s not only through sexual activity that you can get certain STDs; things like kissing, using a dirty toothbrush, sharing contaminated food and borrowing a towel from a friend can also transmit them. STDs, such as chlamydia and herpes, can even spread by simply touching an infected razor blade or using a contaminated tanning bed.

Therefore, it is important to practice safe sex, use condoms or dental dams during intimate activities and regularly get tested for STDs. Practicing these measures can prevent the spread of infections, which can cause long-term health complications and lead to emotional distress and stigma.

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2. Indirect Contact

Many people think STIs can only be passed sexually, but that’s not the case. Any type of skin-to-skin contact can transmit an STI, from kissing to foreplay that does not involve penetration. It can even spread through contaminated objects, such as a razor (herpes), medical equipment or sharps like syringes or needles, or even a dirty sex toy.

The virus that causes herpes can also be spread indirectly, via indirect contact to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, eyes or genitals. This can occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes into their hands and then touches something that comes into direct contact with the same mucous membranes, such as a drinking glass or toilet seat.

It is not uncommon for medical providers to ask if you are sexually active when providing care or services such as pregnancy tests, testing for STIs, or giving you a Pap smear. But if you don’t want to tell your doctor about your sexual activity, there are other ways to get the care you need. For example, some clinics offer STD testing and treatment without the need for a medical professional.

3. Sexual Intercourse

Oral sex is becoming more and more common among sexually active people, especially teenagers. Many of these teens see oral sex as “risk-free” because they’re not penetrating the vagina. Unfortunately, it is possible to contract an STD this way, no matter how long the sex was.

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Orally transmitted diseases include chlamydia, herpes, and genital warts. They can also include hepatitis B and C, which are blood-borne infections.

There are a variety of ways to have sexual encounters, including making out, masturbating, and playing with sex toys. Some of these activities are considered “outercourse” and may not be penetration, such as grinding and dry humping. Others are more invasive and can include licking or sucking the clitoris, or inserting the tongue or fingers into the anus/vagina.

It’s important to talk openly about sex and use condoms during all sexual encounters. This will help to reduce the risk of STIs, which are treatable and curable. In addition, it’s a good idea to get tested regularly so that you can know if you have an infection. If you do, it’s essential to notify all your sex partners so they can get tested and treated if necessary.

4. Food

While some STIs are only spread through sexual contact, others can be passed by skin-to-skin contact and kissing without intercourse. These include genital herpes, syphilis, and chlamydia. It is also possible to get a blood-borne STI such as HIV or hepatitis through contact with body fluids from an infected person, including sharing drug needles. It’s important to be honest about your sex life and use barrier devices when necessary.

While HIV can’t survive outside the body, other viruses and parasites can. Getting an STD through contaminated food is less common but still possible. Hepatitis A, for example, can be spread by a person who doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, then begins prepping food. Hepatitis B can also be spread by a person who doesn’t properly clean their cutting board or utensils. The single-celled protozoan parasite that causes trichomoniasis, or trich, can be transferred by shared towels and clothing. The symptoms of trich can vary, and it takes a lab test to confirm a diagnosis. However, trich can be treated with oral antibiotics.

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5. Towels

Shared sheets and towels can hide single-celled protozoan parasites such as Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes the STI trichomoniasis. These parasites love damp fabrics and can survive for up to an hour outside the body. In addition, shared towels can conceal pubic lice, which can cause the STI scabies. If you must use a towel belonging to someone else, wash it in hot water afterward. Hand towels should never be shared. Washing them regularly is the best way to keep germs from spreading.

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