Most people believe that the only ways to get an STD are through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex, skin-to-skin contact, or blood transfusions. However, scientists suggest you can get an STD without having sex. One of the methods you can catch an STD is from someone else's bed or sharing towels. In this article, we will focus on the ways you can get an STD without having sex. But let's first see the main routes of a sexually transmitted infection. 

Main routes of infection with an STD

You can primarily get an STD through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sexually transmitted diseases have a high affinity for our mucous membranes, found in our genitals, anal region, and oral cavity. However, some infections, such as HPV and herpes, are also transmissible through skin-to-skin contact. Nevertheless, open cuts, wounds, or sores can become the entry point for HIV infection. Getting sperm in the eyes after facial sex can also get you an STD because whatever gets in the eye can further pass into the bloodstream. 

Studies also reveal that kissing can be a route of STDs transmission, particularly gonorrhea and herpes. Similarly, having an oral infection and giving oral sex to your healthy partner can transmit the disease to him or her. Also, blood transfusions are another way to get an STD. HIV and hepatitis B and C are highly transmissible through the blood. 

To sum up, the following are the most well-established and mainstream routes of STDs transmission:

  • Unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex
  • Genito-genital rubbing
  • Mouth-to-genitals rubbing
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Fingering
  • Kissing 
  • Blood transfusions
  • Sharing needles or syringes
  • Getting infected body fluids in the eyes
  • Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy or delivery

Other ways you can get an STD without having sex

There several other ways you can get an STD without having sex. Some of the most well-known non-sexual routes of infection are the following.

Contaminated Foods

The main route of transmission for hepatitis A virus is the oral-fecal one, meaning you can get the infection through contaminated food. For example, if an individual with hepatitis A virus uses the restroom, and does not wash their hands, you might get the infection, in case she or he prepares your food. Therefore, you might eat contaminated food, get infected, and then transmit the virus sexually to another person. However, there are vaccines for hepatitis A prevention, which most people do early in their life in developed countries. 

Indirect contact

You can get trichomoniasis or HPV through indirect sexual contact, such as hand-to-genital sexual stimulation, or sharing sex toys. It is a less likely route of infection, but several reports confirm that various pathogens can survive underneath the fingernails or in plastic for a couple of minutes to hours, if not properly washed and decontaminated. 

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