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10 weird ways in which people contract STDs without having sex

10 weird ways in which people contract STDs without having sex

You may be surprised to know that certain innocuous activities can actually lead to you contracting an STD.

"No glove, no love" seems to be the motto of so many programs that educate teenagers about sexual health and the risks associated with unprotected sex. People who religiously use condoms may have fewer reservations about sleeping with multiple partners because they believe that they're protected against all sexually transmitted infections by that impossibly thin sheath.

People often use condoms to protect against STDs. (Pexels)
People often use condoms to protect against STDs. (Pexels)

Well, you might be slightly horrified to find out that while condoms do offer a measure of protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), they only minimize the risk of contracting these illnesses and do not completely eliminate the risk of infection. This is a scary thought to have while you're on your phone exchanging innuendos with your Tinder date for the night.

Condoms do not completely eliminate the risk of infection. (Pixabay)
Condoms do not completely eliminate the risk of infection. (Pixabay)

The truth is that microbes are microscopic organisms, and there’s no way to be absolutely sure where they're coming from and where they're going. The body has multiple defence mechanisms in place to ensure that it is very difficult for harmful organisms and substances to enter the bloodstream. Unfortunately, sexual activity bypasses many of those barriers and gives these microorganisms direct access to your body.

Sexual activity gives harmful microorganisms direct access to your body. (Pixabay)
Sexual activity gives harmful microorganisms direct access to your body. (Pixabay)

To make matters worse, penetrative sex is not the only way for all those germs to end up in your body. You are in danger of contracting certain conditions or diseases from something as innocuous as a peck on the cheek. Feeling icky yet? You're about to feel a whole lot worse. Read on to find out all the ways you can contract a sexually transmitted disease without direct contact between genitalia.

Even a peck on the cheek can be risky. (Pexels)
Even a peck on the cheek can be risky. (Pexels)

1. Eating contaminated food

Fortunately, one of the few diseases that are normally transmitted sexually that can also be transmitted through food is an acute infection that resolves itself within a short period of time. If the person who prepared your food has Hepatitis A and did not wash their hands after a trip to the bathroom, then you may be in danger of contracting the disease in this rather nasty way.

Eating contaminated food can transmit Hepatitis A. (Pexels)
Eating contaminated food can transmit Hepatitis A. (Pexels)

2. Sleeping in the same bed

Many disease-causing germs are unable to survive outside the body for long. Not this protozoan - Trichomonas vaginalis is a single-celled parasite that causes a condition called trichomoniasis. When it is transferred to a damp bed sheet, it can survive for nearly an hour before infecting another person. Fortunately, trichomoniasis is curable.

Sharing a bed with an infected person can be harmful. (Pexels)
Sharing a bed with an infected person can be harmful. (Pexels)

There is another pesky parasite that makes its way over to your body through contaminated sheets. Pubic lice, commonly known as crabs, are tiny creatures that are extremely difficult to get rid of. They can stick to clothes, sheets, and towels and spread to people who come in contact with them.

Pubic lice can be transmitted through clothes and sheets. (Wikimedia Commons)
Pubic lice can be transmitted through clothes and sheets. (Wikimedia Commons)

3. Making out

Between 50 to 80 percent of adults in the United States are infected with oral herpes. The Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 is passed on to other people through kissing. It can even be transmitted to children through a kiss on the cheek. It causes cold sores in the mouth and can even spread to the genitals, where it becomes genital herpes.

Oral herpes can be transmitted to children. (Pexels)
Oral herpes can be transmitted to children. (Pexels)

One of the most common orally transmitted diseases is mononucleosis, famously known as the kissing disease. Though not technically an STD, mono, as it is called, can be sexually transmitted when the cytomegalovirus is involved. It is often passed on while kissing during sexual intimacy, a fact that many people forget when they're panicking about where they put their condoms.

A kiss can transmit oral herpes. (Pexels)
A kiss can transmit oral herpes. (Pexels)

4. Participating in oral sex

Many people often think that oral sex is safer than vaginal or anal sex when it comes to avoiding STDs. The reality is that most STDs that can be transmitted by genitalia-to-genitalia contact can also be transmitted by contact between the mouth and the genitalia or the anus. As mentioned before, the herpes simplex virus cannot be stopped by avoiding penetrative sex.

Oral sex can transmit diseases. (Pexels)
Oral sex can transmit diseases. (Pexels)

In fact, wearing a condom only cuts the chance of contracting herpes by half, and HPV is often transmitted through skin not covered by condoms during intercourse. So whenever someone has a herpes outbreak that involves sores and secretions, it is best to avoid engage in any form of sexual activity until the outbreak has died down. Even chlamydia can sometimes cause a throat infection as a result of oral sex.

Chlamydia can cause a throat infection. (Joint Base Charleston)
Chlamydia can cause a throat infection. (Joint Base Charleston)

5. Getting intimate without anything on

Even if you avoid kissing and oral sex, being skin-to-skin with another person can have unforeseen consequences. When people shave their nether regions, they tend to bruise or break the skin in places, which creates outlets for the germs in them to come into contact with their partners. Herpes and HPV often get transmitted through skin not directly on or immediately around genitalia, so keep a sharp lookout for anything untoward.

Skin-to-skin contact can transmit herpes and HPV. (Pexels)
Skin-to-skin contact can transmit herpes and HPV. (Pexels)

6. Indirectly coming into contact with genitalia

When you touch a used sex toy and then touch your own genitals, then you may risk transferring infected fluids to your own genitals. Or even when you pleasure an infected person with your fingers and then touch yourself with the same hand, you are at risk of contracting an STD. Trichomoniasis, the disease caused by the parasite that stays on your sheets, can also be transmitted this way.

Touching a used sex toy can transmit an infection. (Pexels)
Touching a used sex toy can transmit an infection. (Pexels)

7. Sharing shaving razors

When you use a razor or a trimmer that someone else has used or anything that has the potential to draw blood or break the skin, then you are maximizing indirect contact between their blood and yours. This works along a similar principle to sharing needles when administering drugs, because you are directly introducing infected blood into your bloodstream.

Sharing razors can be dangerous. (Pexels)
Sharing razors can be dangerous. (Pexels)

8. Working on your complexion

When you skip a day in the sun for an hour in a tanning bed, there is a chance that you may contract the infectious virus Molluscum contagiosum that has the tendency to remain on tanning beds after a person infected with it gets up. This infection resolves itself in a few days, but not after spreading itchy raised bumps all over your skin that cause a lot of discomfort.

A tanning bed carries its own risks. (Wikimedia Commons)
A tanning bed carries its own risks. (Wikimedia Commons)

9. Sitting on a toilet

This may leave a disgusting image in your head, but a person who sits on a toilet and leaves traces of infectious secretions all over the seat may risk transmitting their STD to the next person who sits on the seat and has their bodily fluids come in contact with the infectious secretions. This is quite rare, but it does happen in households where the chance of contact with the infectious fluids is increased because you are living with an infectious person.

In rare cases, STDs can be transmitted through toilets. (Wikimedia Commons)
In rare cases, STDs can be transmitted through toilets. (Wikimedia Commons)

10. Receiving donated blood

While the chances of this happening in the United States are rare, there are instances where people have been given blood infected with the HIV-1 or HIV-2 virus. Every unit of blood donated is screened for antibodies, but once in a while, there is an infection that slips through the cracks. This is especially common in developing countries where safety protocols aren't as rigid.

Blood transfusions are safe but do carry a miniscule risk of infection. (Wikimedia Commons)
Blood transfusions are safe but do carry a miniscule risk of infection. (Wikimedia Commons)

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