STIs can be non-genital as well and here’s how you can test them
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 10, 2023
When it comes to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), most people automatically think of them as affecting only the genital areas. However, this common misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Non-genital STIs can occur in unexpected places such as the eyes, mouth, throat, or even the skin. It’s essential to be aware of this fact and get tested at the slightest suspicion.
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Transmission of Non-Genital STIs
Contrary to popular belief, non-genital STIs can be transmitted through various means. If you come into contact with your partner’s infected genital, anal mucosa, or semen/vaginal fluids, there is a high chance of contracting the infection. Additionally, these infections can be spread through contaminated hands, fingers, or even sex toys.
The Common Culprits
Herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and syphilis are among the most common non-genital STIs. While they typically manifest on the genitals, there are instances where they appear on other parts of the body. It’s not uncommon to find herpes and HPV on the thighs, stomach, buttocks, mouth, or even the eyes. Furthermore, syphilis can also present itself on the face. It’s crucial to remember that certain STIs like HIV, hepatitis, or neurosyphilis may not exhibit any signs on the genitals.
Also read: These are the symptoms of the 6 most common and painful STIs.
Moreover, having previously tested for genital STIs does not guarantee immunity from non-genital STIs.
Are There Any Specific Symptoms?
As mentioned earlier, some non-genital STIs may not show any symptoms, while others have distinct signs. For example, herpes appears as itchy and painful lesions that can manifest in the mouth, face, eyes, or hands. Syphilis, on the other hand, presents itself as a painless sore in the area through which the bacteria entered your body. It is more commonly found on the hands and mouth. HPV causes brown-colored, cauliflower-shaped warts that can appear on the face, mouth, hands, or other parts of the body.
Also, read: Ladies, oral sex can give you STIs. Here are 5 ways to stay protected.
If you suspect a non-genital STI, don’t hesitate to get tested. The testing process for non-genital STIs may involve blood tests, urine samples, and swab tests. The swab is typically taken from the area where the infection has appeared. A mouth swab may also be necessary. If you believe there is a high chance of contracting a specific STI, be sure to inform your doctor. Additionally, symptoms may take some time to appear, ranging from days to weeks or even months. If you know you have been exposed to an STI, it’s best to get tested without waiting for symptoms to arise. Annual testing is also recommended to ensure overall sexual health.
Remember, STIs can affect more than just your genital area. Stay informed, get tested, and prioritize your sexual health.