Ways you can get STIs – without intercourse

There are different kinds of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)  that people can get and spread, and not even know that they’re infected – and that’s pretty scary to think about. Even though sex is the most common way to get an STI, these are some other ways that you can get a STI without having sex.


The risk of getting a STI is hardly the first thing you think about when you kiss your crush or partner. But it might be worth the thought. Type 1 herpes (oral herpes) is not easy to identify because it doesn’t always show symptoms, which is why many people carry it and don’t even know it.

The best, and probably the most obvious way, to identify type 1 herpes on someone or yourself is a sore on the lips. Often, infected people will have a sore on their lips that are surrounded by small blisters. The sore might be red, dry, crusty and peeling. Oral herpes is something that can be contracted at a young age (adults spreading it to kids) so just because someone has a sore, doesn’t mean they contracted it sexually.

Oral sex

The common misconception is that STIs are only spread through unprotected penetrative sex but that’s not true, Choma. You can get a STI through oral sex when you come into contact with infected fluids from someone’s genitals and other surfaces on the body. Regardless of what the mood might be, always wear a condom properly – even during oral sex.

Dry sex

Dry sex is when you have sex without penetration. It involves body-to-body rubbing with clothes on, or wearing as little as underwear. STIs like Herpesgonorrhoea and, HPV can be contracted through skin-to-skin contact that doesn’t involve penetration or bodily fluids.

Sharing sharp objects

When you share sharp objects like needles and razors, you’re increasing your likelihood of getting infected with STIs like HIV. Always be vigilant with the sharp objects you use and try to avoid sharing things like injections or razors.

As you can see Choma, not all STIs require you to have sex before you get infected. Of course, this is not to scare you but to make you aware of other risks so that you can take precautions where necessary, especially with new sexual partners. Protect yourself and your partner at all times by using a condom and getting tested or screened for STIs.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).