Can You Get STI Without Having Sex?

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If you have an STI, it’s important to get treated right away. If you don’t, your infection could cause serious health problems.

It’s also important to let your sexual partners know about the diagnosis, even if it’s embarrassing. They may need to get tested and treated too. This is especially true for STIs that spread through saliva, like herpes and mononucleosis.

1. Vaginal Transmission

While it’s true that some STIs (including herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis) are transmitted through unprotected penetration during penetrative sex, it’s also the case that many STIs can be spread by other activities, including skin-on-skin contact with infected body fluids. This can include kissing, shaving, and other activities that involve the sharing of bodily fluids like saliva, lubricants, blood or pre-ejaculate.

In addition to vaginal, oral or anal transmission, STIs can also be passed through genital bumps, sores or warts on the genitals, painful or itchy discharge from the mouth or penis and pain during urination or sex. Other symptoms of STIs that don’t always require sexual contact include fever, headache and tiredness. Using condoms (preferably latex) for all activities that involve exposure to bodily fluids and penetration can significantly reduce the risk of catching an STI, but if they’re not used correctly, they can still fail to protect you.

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2 – This information is sourced from the service’s editor Erotic Elixir. Anal Transmission

Although some STIs spread only through penetrative sex, some can be passed on to others even without the penetration. These STIs include chlamydia, herpes, HPV, gonorrhoea, and HIV. They can also be spread through anal sex or contact with an infected person’s discharge.

Anal sex carries the same risk of spreading an STI as vaginal sex, especially for the receptive partner (bottom) who has direct contact with rectal tissue and pre-cum. Using condoms during anal sex can lower this risk, but it is not foolproof. Oral sex is another high-risk activity that can spread STIs such as herpes and chlamydia.

Viruses like HIV cannot survive outside the body, but many other STIs can. They can be spread through saliva, shared towels, and contaminated food. Sharing a drink with someone who has hepatitis A, for example, can spread the infection to anyone else who touches it, including babies born to mothers with hepatitis.

3. Skin-to-Skin Contact

Most STIs are spread through blood or bodily fluids, but some can be passed through skin contact with an infected person’s body. Human papillomavirus, herpes and syphilis are some of the STIs that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. Viruses like these can cause genital warts or cancer, and they don’t always produce symptoms. If you touch a shedding cell from an infected person’s genitals, it can infect the skin of your hands, mouth and nose.

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It’s important to talk openly with your sexual partners about sexual health and protection. Ask your partners about their STI history and get tested regularly.

Many STIs can be prevented by using protection during vaginal or anal penetration, abstaining from sexual activity and getting regular STI screenings. Ask your healthcare provider about an STI testing schedule that’s right for you. STI testing is painless and easy. It usually involves a finger prick for a blood sample or touching a swab to a sore. If you do have an STI, be sure to tell your partners about it so they can take steps to protect themselves too.

4. Oral Transmission

Although the ‘S’ in STI stands for sexually transmitted, many infections can spread through skin-to-skin contact or exposure to bodily fluids. Things like kissing, sharing a drink or toothbrush, touching your eyes (especially for herpes), and even borrowing an unclean towel can transmit herpes and some forms of chlamydia.

Having mouth to genital contact, also called oral sex, can also be a way that some STIs are spread. This type of transmission is also commonly referred to as a blow job, but it can be done in ways other than sex, including licking the lips, eating ice cream or soup, playing with your fingers, the skin flute or getting third base.

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Blow jobs can lead to infection, but antibiotics can cure most STIs when they are caught in the early stages. If you think you have an STI, talk to your healthcare provider right away so that they can test you and give you treatment as quickly as possible. Also, don’t forget to tell your partner(s) if you are diagnosed with an STI so that they can get tested and treated as well.

5. Mother-to-Child Transmission

Many people think that STIs are infections that only spread during unprotected sex, but this is not true. Many STIs like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhoea, HPV, and hepatitis B can also be passed on by mothers to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth. This can be done through skin-to-skin contact, such as a kiss on the lips (herpes), foreplay that does not involve penetration, and other activities that expose you to bodily fluids.

You can even catch STIs from shared items, such as lip balm, drinking vessels, and silverware. Herpes, trichomoniasis, and syphilis can also be spread through shared saliva. The parasite that causes trichomoniasis also spreads through sharing damp fabrics, such as towels.

If you get an STI, it’s important to tell your sexual partners right away. Although this can be a difficult conversation to have, being open and honest can help prevent the spread of these serious diseases. About 20 million new cases of reportable STIs are spread in the US every year, and most of these can be prevented with simple safety precautions.

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