What STDs Can I Get Through Skin-to-Skin Contact?

What STDs Can I Get Through Skin-to-Skin Contact?

If STDs are sexually transmitted diseases, it makes sense to think you can’t get them if you aren’t having actual sex.

Maybe you’ve recently been diagnosed with an STD and you’re wondering how in the world you got it if you haven’t even had sex or if you’ve only had protected sex or if you’ve been in what you thought was a monogamous relationship. Maybe you’re in shock and now you’re wondering how to make sure you don’t pass this infection on to someone else.

Or maybe you’ve been tested and you don’t have an STD and you want to make sure you do everything you can to keep it that way.

You deserve to have all the information you need to protect your health — physically, emotionally, and relationally.

Unfortunately, it’s possible to get an STD even if you don’t have sexual intercourse and even if you don’t exchange body fluids with another person because some STDs can be spread simply by skin-to-skin contact.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the STDs that pose the biggest risk of skin-to-skin transmission are:

● Genital herpes. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) -2 or genital herpes can be spread through any sexual contact with an infected person. So this can be spread by skin-to-skin or mouth-to-skin contact.
● Syphilis. Syphilis sores can be inside the mouth or in the genital area, and any uncovered sores can be contagious. Often, syphilis sores aren’t recognized as an STD and aren’t treated.
● Human papillomavirus (HPV). Forms of this virus can cause cancer or genital warts. It’s not always obvious that someone has HPV, and HPV is very easily spread through contact with the skin. HPV is the most common STD. According to the CDC, HPV is so common that almost everyone who’s sexually active will get HPV at some point.
● Pubic lice. Pubic lice are usually living on the pubic hair, but they can live on coarse hair anywhere on the body. Just as head lice are easily spread through contact, so are pubic lice.
● Scabies. Scabies is caused by a mite that lives on the top layer of skin. The mites move from person to person during prolonged skin-to-skin contact.

Because these STDs can spread from any sexual contact, including heavy petting, outercourse (a.k.a. dry humping) – any skin-to-skin contact – the only way to prevent them is to avoid any sexual contact or to only have sexual contact if you are in a mutually monogamous relationship (you both know you don’t have an STD and you and your partner only have sexual contact with each other.)

If you’ve already been diagnosed with one of these STDs, there is some hopeful news —-some of these STDs can often be treated with the correct medications. Genital warts or pre-cancer caused by HPV can be treated by your medical provider. And you can ask your doctor how you can prevent spreading the STD to a partner.

The reality is though, there are some consequences associated with STDs. Symptoms and parasites can be treated but viruses most often stay in our systems.

We know it can be scary and overwhelming to think that you can get an STD even if you choose not to have sexual intercourse. And it can be really discouraging to not have any form of sex and still get diagnosed with an STD. If you need someone to talk to, our medical staff will listen. We can give you more information about STDs, test and treat you for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, and also refer you to other medical providers who can test for additional STDs.

Even if this is a bit frightening and frustrating, you don’t have to navigate this alone. We really do care about you, and we’re here to help you however we can.

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