STIs Passed Through Non-Sexual Contact
This may surprise most people but it is actually quite possible to catch sexually transmitted infections without actually having sex. Don’t freak out just yet, it’s rather rare to contract something such as herpes, without penetrative sex or at least oral sex. Rest assured, STIs aren’t something that can magically manifest itself; someone ‘has’ to transmit them to you. This is the reason why every individual should be aware of these unconventional methods of contracting STIs.
Let’s start with a simple one, Lip Balm
The first thing you need to know is that there are basically 2 variations of herpes; simplex type 1 (Oral) and Type 2 (Genital). Both of these types spread only through direct contact, as STIs don’t survive on inanimate things, so breathe easy again. However, if an individual applies lip balm on or close to the infected area, with visible symptoms and you use it soon afterwards, you are likely to get infected.
It goes without saying that the same goes for cigarettes and lipstick. Remember, always carry your own balm, stick, or lip moisturizer.
See this article by a New York dentist about the risks of sharing lip balm – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/lip-balm-herpes_b_984665.html
Yeah, Moist Towels too
Sexually transmitted infections are both bacteria and viruses, which have the ability to survive in certain types of environments. And one of those environments is a wet, warm towel. One of the commonly known STIs, trichomoniasis, is a type of vaginal infection that is characterized with funky smelling discharge, and can live on towels for quite some time. So do yourself a favor, and take your own towel where the need is likely to arise.
I bet you didn’t expect Tanning Beds
Let me guess, at the moment you’re thinking that any UV exposure and heat should vaporize any infections lingering in the tanning bed, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The type of STI we are talking about is the kind that spreads with skin to skin contact, for instance, HPV. Even if the infected person covers themselves appropriately, HPV can show up on various parts of the body, for instance, on one’s fingers.
Another infection type is molluscum contagiosum, a disease which can cause round, small bumps with craters in them to appear on your skin, and this STI can be contracted inside a tanning bed.
You may know this one, Razors
At the last minute when you can’t find your razor, it might be very tempting to borrow your roommates’ for a swipe, STOP! While shaving your facial hair, what you’re essentially doing is opening your skin up with tiny scratches and nicks that are like doors for an STI to enter your system.
And the obvious one, Sharing Sex Toys
Okay, you may not be into sharing your toys with a random person, unless you are into swinging sex parties. However, it would be more ideal if, in the heat of the moment before passing the vibrator, you have the time to clean and sterilize it before handing it over. Even if your toys have been lying idle under your bed, they can still pick up germs and bacteria that you don’t want down there.
If you think that you might be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection, you can get yourself tested without even leaving the house. There are reputable services online that allow you to test by post. Two of the leading providers of these services in the UK are The GUM Clinic and the THT Charity. Both services charge a small fee but they work with accredited laboratories and there is fast reporting of results.
If money is a problem for you, you can find a publicly funded sexual heath clinic near you from the Family Planning Association website.