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Ways that you can (and can't) get an STI


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed on a surprisingly large number of ways. This said, some myths are out there about how STIs are spread that simply aren't true. Here, we talk through the ways that you can get an STI, as well as ways that they're not spread.

You CAN get an STI through oral sex

You can get an STI from giving/receiving oral sex. This includes penises, vaginas and anuses (bum holes). Use a condom on penises and dental dams on vaginas and anuses to protect against STIs. You can pick these up for free from our team!


You CAN'T get an STI from a toilet seat

There have been myths floating round in the past that you can get HIV from a toilet seat. You can't. In fact, you can't get any STI from a toilet seat.


You CAN get an STI through anal sex

The risk of catching HIV from anal sex is higher than through vaginal, which is a reason why HIV rates are high in men who have sex with men. It's not just HIV that can be passed on through anal sex; syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and other STIs can be passed on through anal too. Don't forget, the best way to protect against all STIs, is by using condoms.


You CAN'T get an STI from kissing

STIs can't be spread through saliva, so as long as you're not kissing someone on their genitals, kissing is a safe activity!


You CAN get an STI from sex between women

We see many women who believe that just because they've only had sex with women they can't get an STI. This isn't true, STIs can be spread from woman to woman.


You CAN get an STI even if you use a condom

Condoms are your best defence against most STIs, so you should use them when having sex. That said, it doesn't stop all of them and they are only 98% effective when used perfectly and 82% effective with typical use (when instructions aren't always followed). Make sure you know how to put a condom on properly and watch our demonstration video.

Even if you've used condoms during all your sexual encounters, it's worth going for a sexual health check-up (we recommend one every six months).


You CAN'T get an STI from sharing drinks

As we've said above, STIs can't be spread through saliva, so sharing drinks won't pass on any STIs.


You CAN get an STI from sharing sex toys

STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be spread if you're sharing sex toys with a partner without taking precautions. So make sure you're using fresh condoms on each partner and cleaning them properly between each use!


You CAN get an STI from rubbing genitals

Genital warts, genital herpes, scabies and pubic lice (crabs) can be spread through skin to skin contact, even if it's just frottage (dry humping without clothes on). If you notice itching, sores, blisters or lumps around your genitals, visit the sexual health clinic for a check-up.


Visit the sexual health clinic at Cobridge Community Health Centre for a full STI test. We advise that people get a full STI test between each sexual partner.

#sti #sexualhealth #hiv

LGBT Stoke is a service provided by the Sexual Health Prevention Team from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust