Can You Get an STD If Both Partners Have No STDs?

Jun 24, 2024 | 5 min read

Question on this topic? Get an instant answer from AI Doctor.Instant answer from AI Doctor.

If both partners have no STDs and have never been exposed to them through any means, it is highly unlikely for either to contract an STD. However, factors like asymptomatic infections and testing inaccuracies must be considered. Regular testing and safe sex practices are essential for maintaining sexual health.

can you get std if both partners have no stds

Understanding STDs

How Are STDs Transmitted?

According to a publication from NCBI, there are approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States. This highlights the importance of understanding how STDs are transmitted to prevent their spread.

Sexual History and Practices

Your sexual history and practices play a significant role in your risk of contracting and transmitting STDs. Engaging in unprotected sex, having multiple partners, or having partners who have multiple partners increases your risk. It’s essential to disclose your sexual history to your partners and encourage them to do the same. Open communication helps in assessing risk and making informed decisions about protection and testing.

Discussing past sexual encounters and testing histories can be uncomfortable, but it is vital for maintaining sexual health. Knowing each other's STD status helps build trust and ensures that both partners are taking steps to prevent transmission.

Oral and Anal Transmission

STDs can be transmitted through oral and anal sex, not just vaginal intercourse. Oral sex can spread infections like herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis, while anal sex can transmit HIV, hepatitis, and other infections. It is important to use protection, such as condoms and dental dams, during these activities to reduce the risk of transmission.

Comprehensive testing should include tests for oral and anal regions, especially if these types of sexual activities are part of your sexual history. Many people overlook these areas, which can lead to undetected and untreated infections.

Non-Sexual Transmission

STDs can also be transmitted through non-sexual means, including:

  • IV Drug Use: Sharing needles can transmit blood-borne infections like HIV and hepatitis.
  • Mother-to-Child: Certain STDs can be passed from mother to baby during childbirth or breastfeeding.
  • Blood Transfusions: Although rare due to rigorous screening, receiving contaminated blood can result in STD transmission.

Understanding these additional modes of transmission is crucial for comprehensive STD prevention and management. It highlights the importance of considering all potential risks and taking appropriate preventive measures, even if you are not sexually active.

Types of STDs

There are two main types of STD infections: symptomatic and asymptomatic. Symptomatic infections are those where the infected individual shows clear signs of the disease, such as sores, rashes, or unusual discharge. Asymptomatic infections, on the other hand, do not show any noticeable symptoms. 

Many STDs can be asymptomatic, meaning that infected individuals may not display any noticeable signs or symptoms. Without symptoms, it can be challenging to detect an infection without proper testing. Common STDs that can be asymptomatic include:

  • Chlamydia: Often referred to as the "silent" infection, chlamydia can cause serious health issues if left untreated, including infertility in women.
  • Gonorrhea: Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can be asymptomatic and lead to severe complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Many types of HPV do not cause any symptoms, but some can lead to cancers or genital warts.

Asymptomatic infections highlight the importance of regular STD testing, as individuals may unknowingly carry and transmit these diseases to their partners.

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Just 3 simple steps to efficiently understand and manage your health symptoms online.

Incubation Periods

The incubation period is the time between exposure to the infection and the onset of symptoms. During this period, individuals can be contagious even without visible symptoms. Understanding the incubation periods of various STDs is crucial for timely testing and treatment.

Here are the incubation periods for some of the most common STDs:

  • Chlamydia: 7 to 21 days
  • Gonorrhea: 1 to 14 days
  • Syphilis: 10 to 90 days
  • HIV: 2 to 4 weeks (up to several months)
  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV): 2 to 12 days
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): 1 month to several years
  • Hepatitis B: 6 weeks to 6 months

Testing and its Limitations

Regular STD testing is crucial for sexually active individuals. Even if you believe you are not at risk, regular testing helps ensure that you are aware of your STD status and can take necessary actions to protect your health and the health of your partners. Many STDs can be asymptomatic, meaning they show no signs or symptoms, making regular testing the only way to know for sure if you are infected.

STD tests typically work by detecting the presence of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, or parasites) or the antibodies your body produces in response to these pathogens. Depending on the type of STD, different tests may be used. Regular testing helps detect infections early, allowing for timely treatment and reducing the risk of spreading the disease to others.

Types of STD Tests

There are several types of STD tests available, each designed to detect specific infections. Here are the most common types:

  • Urine Tests: Often used to detect bacterial STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. These tests require a urine sample, which is analyzed in a lab.
  • Blood Tests: Used to detect viral infections like HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis. A small blood sample is taken and tested for the presence of the virus or antibodies.
  • Swab Tests: Used for infections that affect the genitals, throat, or rectum. A swab is taken from the affected area and tested for the presence of the pathogen.

For a more comprehensive understanding of your STD test results, you can use a Lab Test Interpretation tool. This tool allows you to input your test results and quickly get a detailed exploration of what they mean for your health. However, always discuss your results with a healthcare provider before taking any action.

Lab Test Interpretation

Lab Test Interpretation

Upload your lab tests, receive detailed interpretations, personalized insights and recommendations.

False Negatives

False negatives can occur in STD testing, meaning the test results show no infection when an infection is actually present. This can happen if the test is performed too early during the infection’s incubation period before the pathogen or antibodies reach detectable levels.

To reduce the risk of false negatives, it’s important to get tested within the recommended window periods for each STD. If you suspect exposure, consult with a healthcare professional about the best time to get tested.

Preventive Measures and Safe Sex Practices

Condom Use

Using condoms consistently and correctly is one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of STDs. Condoms act as a barrier, preventing direct contact with semen, vaginal fluids, and blood, which can carry infectious agents.


Vaccinations are a crucial preventive measure for certain STDs. They help protect against infections that can have serious health consequences.

  • HPV Vaccine: Protects against the human papillomavirus, which can cause genital warts and various cancers, including cervical cancer. According to the CDC, HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone over 26. Adults aged 27-45 may consider it after discussing risks and benefits with their doctor
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine: Prevents hepatitis B, a virus that affects the liver and can lead to chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

Getting vaccinated not only protects you but also helps reduce the overall prevalence of these infections in the community. Consult your healthcare provider to ensure you are up to date with recommended vaccines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions?Ask AI Doctor

Key Takeaways

If both partners are free from STDs and have no prior exposure, it's impossible for them to develop an STD from their interaction. STDs cannot spontaneously arise; they require transmission from an infected individual.

Reinforce the importance of regular testing, safe sex practices, and open communication to maintain sexual health and prevent the spread of STDs. Taking proactive steps in these areas helps protect yourself and your partners, ensuring a healthier and more informed approach to sexual activity.

AI Assistant

Have Questions?

Have a question on this topic? Submit it here and get an instant answer from our AI Doctor.

Please Note!This tool is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a professional before taking any actions.

Make Informed Health Decisions

Talk to Docus AI Doctor, generate health reports, get them validated by Top Doctors from the US and Europe.

Make Informed Health Decisions

You’re only one click away from a life-changing journey

Virtual health assistant powered by AI
350+ world-renowned Doctors