Can you get an STI if you are a virgin?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be very tormenting for sexually active people. Especially since you can never be too careful. It can cause bothersome symptoms and affect different parts of the body, which makes it cause for concern. Everyone, especially those who have had sexual contact, is subject to it. But the question is: are virgins equally at risk of STIs? Let’s find out.

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What “virginity” can mean to different people

First, let’s understand the different definitions of “virginity.”

For some people, being a virgin describes anyone who has had sex. Vaginal and anal penetration is what defines the breaking of virginity for some. On the other hand, virginity also means never having sexual contact, be it penetrative, oral or otherwise.

Regardless of your mode of sexual activity, STIs can be spread as long as you are sexually active.

Penetrative sex and STI risk

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is mainly spread through unprotected sexual contact. This mainly includes penetrative sex. The UK’s National Health Services (NHS) shares that penetrative anal sex carries a higher risk of spreading STIs than many other types of sexual activity. This happens because the lining of the anus is thin and can be easily damaged, making it more susceptible to infection, the health body explains.

Common STIs to be wary of

According to the WHO, the most common and curable STIs are trichomonas, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Among the many viral STIs, including HIV, genital herpes simplex virus (HSV), viral hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV- 1) lack or have limited treatment options, shares the global health organization.

But STIs can also be transmitted through non-penetrative sex.

It is important to note that STIs are not spread only through penetrative sex. VeryWell Health reports that STIs such as oral herpes can also be transmitted through oral sex. It may be in the saliva in your mouth after kissing a family member or sharing eating and drinking utensils, the health site shared, citing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How to protect yourself

There are several ways to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections. Although it does not guarantee prevention, it can surely minimize your risk. Here are some steps to follow.

– Practice safer sex by using a condom for vaginal and anal sex and dental dams for oral sex.

– Discuss your sexual history with your partner, even if it was not penetrative.

– Get tested regularly for STIs, especially if you see multiple partners.

– Get vaccinated against HPV and Hepatitis B.