The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are almost 20 million new cases of reported STDs or sexually transmitted diseases each year in the United States. Almost 50% of them are among people from 15-24. The most common STDs are HIV, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and syphilis.
The fact the above diseases are transmitted from sex does not mean that is the sole way to get them. And just because HIV is not transmittable through kissing and mosquito bites does not mean there are not some STDs that you can. Below are 12 ways that you can get an STD without having sex. (1)
#1 Mosquito Bites
Zika, which is the mosquito-carried disease that affects the brain development for fetuses, has been proven to be transmitted sexually. It is the only known ‘vector’ disease that can be both transmitted sexually and from mosquitos. It can cause major damage to the fetal brain, infants and pregnant women. It also can destroy brain cells in healthy adults. So, it is a good idea to wear plenty of insect repellant when you are outside in the summertime. (2)
Mononucleosis is called the ‘kissing disease’ for a good reason. But it also is possible to catch herpes orally; this is the virus that leads to cold sores (HSV-1). It is possible for oral herpes to then spread to your genitals from oral sex and turn into genital herpes, which is HSV-2. If you have an outbreak and engage in oral sex with a person, you can give them HSV-2. After you develop herpes, it is always with you. The STD can stay dormant for years before you have an outbreak. You could have the disease and not even know you have it.
#3 Sharing Drinks, Lip Balm or Silverware
Just like kissing, HIV can never be transmitted through saliva. So this one does not apply to HIV. But it is possible to catch oral herpes, mono and meningitis by sharing various oral items that touch the mouth of another person when there is an outbreak.
#4 Oral Sex
Sorry to tell you, but it is not just the CDC that states oral sex as increasing your risk of getting some STDs. Mouth to genital contact IS a form of sexual contact. So there is risk. There is almost no chance of getting HIV through oral sex, but you can get syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea and Chlamydia through this form of sex. Also, rim jobs and anilingus also can get you hepatitis A and B, as well as Giardia and E. coli.
#5 Sharing Towels and Sheets
HIV cannot survive away from the body, but other STDs certainly can, such as those that are due to parasites such as crabs, pubic lice or trichomonas vaginalis. Anyone who got crabs in college most likely shared clothes and sheets. Note that trichomonas really like fabrics that are damp and can live almost an hour away from the human body. And you can get oral herpes through sharing towels.
#6 Contaminated Food
If you fail to wash your hands completely before preparing food, you can spread hepatitis A. It is possible to leave your favorite restaurant with an STD or even from your own kitchen. So make sure you always are washing those hands before touching any type of food. (3)
#7 Skin to Skin Contact
Just being naked next to one another, even if there is no sex involved, can lead to some STDs. HPV and herpes can be gotten through some types of skin to skin contact. (4)
#8 Hand Jobs
This is a form of sex although many people do not think of it that way. Remember, putting your fingers inside a person or rubbing hands on their genitals can spread STDs. For instance, trichomoniasis and warts can be had via hand to genital contact.
It is not exactly a high risk activity, but shaving can cause some STDs. For instance, shaving the genital area can make it more likely to get an STD because it can lead to skin breaks. This is why sharing razors are always risky, too. Tiny nicks can put blood on the razor and that can be spread to the next person. You can get hepatitis A, B or C in this manner.
#11 Reusing Needles
Needles are another version of sharing razors. The needle breaks the skin, and it could be inserted into your bloodstream. Even a needle used for just insulin or a hormone treatment can lead to HIV or hepatitis C.
#12 Going to the Physician
This happens less often than years ago, such as when getting a blood transfusion during the birth of your child gave you HIV. But it is a fact the hepatitis C epidemic peaked from 1940 to 1965 because medical syringes were reused. Anyone who was born from 1945 to 1965 should be tested for hepatitis C, the CDC states.
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- (1) Yes, You Can Get Sexually Transmitted Infections Without Having Sex. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.hivplusmag.com/wellness/2016/8/24/yes-you-can-get-sexually-transmitted-infection-without-having-sex
- (2) Zika Virus Can Kill Adult Brain Cells. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.hivplusmag.com/wellness/2016/8/23/zika-virus-can-kill-adult-brain-cells
- (3) How to Get an STD Without Having Sex? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stdcheck.com/blog/how-to-get-an-std-without-having-sex/
- (4) Can I Get an STD Without Having Sex? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mylabbox.com/can-i-get-an-std-without-having-sex/