Technically, it is a disease if the patient presents advanced symptoms. On the other hand, an “infection” refers to not having any symptoms at all. However, many experts have said that the term STI attracts less stigma and shame.
An STI or sexually transmitted infection is indeed possible through non-penetrative sex. Before we get into explaining how an STI is caused, let’s look into the difference between a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and an STI.
How can STD occur without penetrative sex?
Although a sexually transmitted disease can further be confirmed through a full panel STD test, it is important to know that some infections do not present with symptoms.
An infection can lay dormant in the body and you will remain asymptomatic. However, you can transmit the disease to someone else, even though you are not having symptoms. At the same time, while you cannot feel or see the signs, the infection can still harm your body. Also, you may experience the symptoms later, which you can detect through a full panel STD test. You can order your own lab tests from JustLabTest.com if you wish to know whether or not you are infected.
STD, how they spread, and when should you get tested?
It’s crucial to know what you may be up for when it comes to an STD and whether it is caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
- Viruses - HPV, Genital Herpes and HIV
- Bacteria - Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia
- Parasites - Trichomoniasis
The sexual activities that may cause an STI depend on where the infection resides in the body, such as:
- the mouth, lips, throat, or saliva
- blood or breast milk
- vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculation (pre-cum), semen, or anal secretions
- the internal anal canal, anal entrance, or perineum
- the vaginal canal, vulva, penis, or testicles
This means that the following sexual acts may cause an STI:
- oral-nipple stimulation
- oral sex (head and rimming)
- intercourse (anal and vaginal)
- hand sex (anal fingering, vaginal fingering, vulva stimulation, and hand jobs)
- any play involving menstrual blood, blood from another part of the body, or lactation
Another important fact is that non-sexual activities can also transmit an STD if infected.
- platonic mouth kissing
- tattoo or piercing
- shared sex toys are unclean
- blood transfusion
- sharing needles
- giving birth if the mother is infected
- self-inoculation (needles, vibrators that may carry infectious pathogens)
The CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention has officially recommended that sexually active people get tested at least once a year to reduce the risk of transmission. Note that the incubation period of an STI may range anywhere from two days to 3 months. Therefore, after unprotected sex, you should ideally get tested two weeks later and then again after another two weeks to be sure.