Is It Possible to Have an STD Without Having Sex?

A Person Holding a Contraceptive

While most people believe that the “S” in STD stands for sexually transmitted, the truth is that it is possible to have an STI without having sex. Infections like herpes, chlamydia, and HIV can be spread through contact with bodily fluids, including saliva and menstrual blood.

In addition, herpes can also be spread by kissing and contaminated surfaces, such as the infamous tanning bed. Read on to learn more about how you can catch an STI without having sex!


Kissing is a great way to show affection, but it can also spread STIs like herpes and genital herpes. Herpes and genital herpes are transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva. You can also get them from touching an infected person’s lips, cheeks, chin, or tongue with your mouth and even from sharing the same lip balm or drinking vessel with someone who has herpes.

Many people think you can only get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) through unprotected sex, but this isn’t true. There are plenty of ways to contract a STD that don’t involve sexual intercourse, including herpes, genital herpes, and hepatitis. Other diseases that can be contracted without sex include gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, HPV, and trichomoniasis.

You can also get a STD by touching an infected person’s fecal matter or sharing food with an infected person. Herpes, hepatitis, genital herpes, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing towels or clothing with an infected person. Some of these infections (like trichomoniasis) can go away on their own or with treatment, but others can stay in your body for life. That’s why it’s so important to use condoms every time and talk openly about sexual health.

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Although the “S” in STI stands for sexually transmitted disease, it is possible to get an STD without having sex. STDs can be spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact like oral sex, kissing, and borrowing unclean towels. They can also be spread by blood-borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis A, B, and C or passed from mother to child during pregnancy and delivery.

One of the most surprising ways to contract an STI is at a tanning salon. The bumpy genital infection molluscum contagiosum can spread through contaminated surfaces such as a tanning bed. In addition, sharing a towel with someone who has an active outbreak of herpes increases the chance of transmission. It is also possible to contract a sexually transmitted illness by touching an infected person, such as pubic lice or the single-celled protozoan parasite that causes trichomoniasis.

While the sexy part of STDs is definitely what makes them so tempting, they can be spread in many other ways as well. That’s why it’s so important to use condoms during vaginal, anal, or oral sex and to keep sex toys clean between uses. In addition, using dental dams or other barriers on the penis and vulva can reduce your risk of catching an STD by preventing direct contact with infected bodily fluids. Lastly, hepatitis A and B can be spread through blood-to-blood contact or from sharing utensils, cups, or drinking glasses that have been handled by an infected person.

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Sharing Towels

Sharing a towel may seem like a harmless act but it can actually spread infections and diseases that could affect your health. It is particularly dangerous to share towels that are stained as bacteria, fungi and viruses can live on damp fabrics for hours or even days.

For example, the parasites that cause trichomoniasis (a genital infection) spread via wet fabrics such as towels and sheets. These parasites are also transmitted through oral sex and anal sex and through kissing. STIs such as herpes and chlamydia can also be spread through sharing unwashed sex toys, toothbrushes or razors. The herpes virus can also be transmitted through mouth-to-mouth contact, oral sex or anal sex and through the transfer of infected saliva into the eyes.

Towels are ideal breading grounds for germs because they offer many of the necessary requirements for microbial growth: water, warmth, food and oxygen. The body’s natural microbiome is used to these germs and they are usually not harmful, but drying off with someone else’s towel exposes you to new germs that your body isn’t used to dealing with. This can lead to a variety of ailments from ringworm, fungal nail infections and tinea cruris (jock itch) to skin infections, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. In addition, sharing towels can also spread respiratory infections and gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.

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Sharing Food

While most people think that STIs like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia can only be passed on during sexual activity, this is not necessarily true. Some STIs can also be transmitted through other types of intimate contact, including oral and anal sex. Other STIs, like hepatitis and HIV can be spread through the use of shared items like razors or sex toys, as well as through direct skin-to-skin contact. In addition, some STIs, like syphilis, can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, labour, and breastfeeding.

Sharing contaminated food is another way in which people can become infected with STDs. This can happen if someone with an infectious sore in their mouth bites into food that they then consume, or if the blood from an infected person accidentally gets into a cut in your body through something like sharing a toothbrush or using the same razor. It is possible to contract some infections from eating contaminated foods, but it is not as common as the other methods of infection.

Some STIs, such as herpes and HPV, can stay in the body even after treatment. Others, such as trichomoniasis and chlamydia, can go away on their own but then return once you are exposed to the virus again. This is why it is important to always use protection, especially with any type of intimate activity.

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