Many people assume that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can only be transmitted through sexual intercourse. However, having sexual intercourse is not the only way to catch an STD or a STI. There are many ways you can become infected with an STI without ever having sex in the first place. It’s important to know your STI status for several reasons.

While people may think it’s impossible to catch an STI without having sex, this is not entirely true. An STI can be transmitted through any kind of skin-to-skin contact where any amount of bodily fluid is present. Any kind of activity that involves exposure to body fluids could result in the transmission of an STD. This can come from a kiss on the lips (herpes) to foreplay that does not involve actual penetration.

Here are five other common ways to catch an STI without having sex.

1 Contaminated Food and Drinks

Eating food and drink that is contaminated may cause you to get an STD. Specifically, hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated beverages and foods. It most often occurs when a person drinks water or food that has been contaminated with the virus. It can also be transmitted through cutlery and crockery that has not been cleaned properly.

2 Through A Contaminated Blood Transfusion

Although rare, STIs have been known to occur through a contaminated transfusion. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV),  Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-I/II), and syphilis have all been transmitted via a blood transfusion in the past. Most blood is now screened before transfusion, but if you have had a blood transfusion over 30 years ago or in a less developed country, you should consider getting tested.

3 Sharing Dirty Sheets, Towels, Or Clothes

Some STDs can survive outside of the body for a certain time and possibly be spread by contaminated sheets and towels. Parasitic STDs, such as pubic lice, and scabies are the most common STDs that can be transmitted via shared towels and sheets.

4 At The Tanning Salon

There are many types of bacteria and viruses that can live on tanning beds, including the ones that cause STDs. If tanning beds are not sterilized and cleaned between clients, they can be a haven for all kinds of bacteria and viruses, including HPV and herpes.

5 Sharing Used Razors

Many people are surprised to learn that it is possible to catch an STD from a razer. While it is rare to catch an STD from shaving, it is possible. That’s because microscopic particles of blood can enter your bloodstream through accidental cuts from a shared razor. This is especially true if the person has open cuts on their skin. The most common STD that you can catch from a razer is herpes.

What Can You Do?

One of the most important things that you can do when it comes to STDs is to get tested. Knowing your status will help you receive the health care you need as well as help to keep those around you safe. 

There’s no need to go to a clinic for testing. You can get tested for Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and more right in the comfort of your home.


  1. NHS: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  2. John Hopkins Medicine: Can You Get an STD From Kissing?
  3. World Health Organization: Hepatitis A
  4. National Library of Medicine: Transfusion Transmitted Disease
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