ZocdocAnswersCan a person get an STD without touching another person's genitals?

Question

Can a person get an STD without touching another person's genitals?

Is it possible to get an STD without actually touching another person's genitals? I'm worried about getting herpes from kissing, and then transfering it to my own genitals, and I'm worried about sleeping on the same sheets / sharing underwear, that sort of thing. Are these possible risks?

Answer

There are quite a few diseases included within the classification of sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, herpes, and syphilis are just a few of these. Sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted by the transfer of body fluids from the person affected by the disease to the recipient. Some sexually transmitted diseases are treatable with antibiotics while others have no current cure and may result in lifelong dormancy with intermittent flare ups. Herpes simplex type 1, also known as the kissing disease, usually leads to lesions affecting the lips and can cause flare ups intermittently throughout life. Herpes simplex type 2 is a different type of herpes, and this is more commonly transferred by sexual intercourse. Sleeping in the same sheets can cause the transfer of crabs, bed bugs, and fleas, but would not cause the transfer of sexually transmitted diseases. It is not recommended to share underwear with other people in general, as again, this can lead to the transfer of crabs, and lice to name a few. From a hygiene standpoint it is also not recommended to share underwear with other people. For more information about sexually transmitted diseases and things that put you at a high risk for obtaining them from others, as well as for obtaining the appropriate testing if you believe you have an STD, please talk to your primary care doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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