Health classes usually do a good job of warning students about the dangers of s3xually transmitted diseases (STDs). And while you may not remember every single detail, it’s so important that you know how to protect yourself. Considering that STDs are, it is not surprising that unprotected s3xual intercourse is the most common way to contract an STD. But what you might not know is that it is still possible to contract an STD even if you have never had s3x or are not currently s3xually active.
Here are other ways you can contract STDs
The danger of getting an STD might not be the first thought that runs through your head when you think about making out with that cute guy at a party, but it is possible to get an STD just from kissing. When someone has type I herpes also known as oral herpes, he/she carries it for life, says Senior Physician at Boston University, Dr Mark Weber. Even though the disease may not be visibly showing, the danger of infection still exists.
However, the possibility of transmitting the disease is much lower if there is not an outbreak of sores. Dr Weber says that another difficulty with type I herpes is that many people carry the disease without even knowing it.
Even though infection is sometimes possible without visible symptoms, the best way to protect yourself from getting infected by someone who has type I herpes is to know how to recognise it. A sore on someone’s lip that is made of small clusters of fluid-filled blisters is an indication of herpes, says Annabeth Elliott, the STD Programme Coordinator at the Idaho Department of Health. She says that even if the cluster is red, crusted or scabbed over and peeling, this is still a sign of the disease.
The biggest danger of becoming infected comes when there is a break in the skin that comes in contact with sores. If you have chapped lips or other breaks in the skin and you come in contact with infected secretions, it is more likely that you will get infected than if your skin is completely intact. So if you are tempted to plant a kiss on someone with these signs, think twice before you do.
Although some people might not consider oral s3x to actually be s3x because it does not involve vaginal penetration, it can still lead to the spread of STDs. Dr Weber says that oral s3x should still be considered as s3x, despite some misconceptions that many students have, and it can lead to transmission of herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other diseases.
An STD can be spread during oral s3x by contact with infected secretions and surfaces on the body. Dr Weber emphasises that although condoms can reduce the spread of diseases, they cannot always be sure to completely prevent infection. But it is always safer to use condoms during penile-oral s3x or dental dams for oral-vaginal s3x.
Avoiding s3x when you have any breaks in the skin or other involved bodily tissue which may come in contact with another person can be protective as well, Dr Weber says.
Also described as body-to-body rubbing, Elliott says that dry s3x can spread herpes even though there is no penetration or bodily fluids involved. But the only way that herpes could be spread by dry humping is if there is skin-to-skin contact, which means that you are safe if clothes are kept on. But if there is skin-to-skin contact, Dr Weber says that infectious material from warts and other viral or bacterial infection could be present.
The risk of transmission depends on the amount of infection that someone has and the number and severity of breaks in the skin. Dr Weber also warns about shaving pubic hair, and how that can increase the risk of infection as well.
The popularity of shaving the hair in various areas of the body including the genital area has the potential to increase the transmission of infections because of the risk of even small breaks in the skin. Stubble from hair growing back can be very abrasive to the other person’s skin, and the blade used can itself pick up infectious material from one part of your skin and spread it to another. Keep this in mind during your next down-there grooming.