All the Bizarre Ways You Can Catch an STI Without Sexual Contact

Having safe sexual intercourse is important. But believe it or not, you can catch — and spread — sexually transmitted diseases and infections without having sex. Of course, you’re most likely to get an infection by having unprotected sex, but if luck is not on your side, there are actually several other ways you can contract a disease.

Couple kissing in bed

Sexual contact isn’t the only way to spread an infection. | Oneinchpunch/iStock/Getty Images

Kissing

This is the most obvious yet most unobvious one on this list. Kissing may seem harmless, but it can commonly spread the herpes virus. If you kiss someone with a cold sore, the virus can easily enter your body. Plus, although it’s rare, if someone has an open cut in their mouth, they can spread HIV or AIDS. Kissing can also spread a slew of other diseases that aren’t sexually transmitted, so it’s important to know who you’re kissing, and make sure they’re healthy before you do.

Contaminated food

Yes, contaminated food can actually spread a STI. Hepatitis A is normally spread two ways: From sexual contact or contact with feces of the infected person. However, if any bit of the bacteria gets on someone’s food, they can get the disease. For example, if an infected person uses the bathroom and doesn’t wash their hands, then prepares food for you, you can get the disease. Food is one of the last places you’d expect to get an STD, but it’s possible. Contaminated water can also spread the disease.

Reused condoms

This should be obvious, but condoms should never be reused, even if they’re washed first. And please, don’t wash condoms. Just throw them away. In July 2018, the CDC took to Twitter to remind everyone that condoms are a one-time-use thing. Reusing a condom can easily spread infections if it hasn’t been washed. And washing it diminishes the condom’s effectiveness because it makes it more prone to breakage or slippage, which can also lead to infections.

Unwashed toys

STDs are hard to spread through indirect contact because they don’t stay on surfaces for very long. But it’s still possible to contract a disease if you share an unclean sex toy with someone else (which, by the way, you should never do). Also, if you find out you have an STD, make sure you entirely disinfect a toy before using it again. Although the bacteria might not live too long on the surface of something like that, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The tanning bed

Similar to the sex toys, catching an STD from a surface like a tanning bed is pretty rare. But at the end of the day, it can still happen. People often tan without any type of clothing on, and if you tan at a salon that doesn’t sanitize between every customer the way it should, you could very well contract an infection. Cosmopolitan reported that herpes, genital warts, and more can be spread through tanning beds if an infected person uses one and it’s not properly sanitized. Always ask your local salon to make sure they sanitize beds between use, and maybe even stick around after your session to make sure they’re telling the truth.

Sharing a razor

Sharing a razor is a great way to be exposed to someone else’s bodily fluids, such as blood from a cut. And blood makes it possible to spread diseases such as HIV/AIDS. According to WebMD, the viruses that cause herpes and hepatitis can also linger on razors. When you shave, it creates microscopic openings in your skin for organisms to make their way into your body, so you don’t need to cut yourself to spread an infection. Always use your own razor, and if you can’t remember which one is yours, either sanitize it or get a new one. It’s not worth taking the chance.

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