Terrifying-but-true fact: You know you don’t necessarily need to have s*x to get an STD. We talked to Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn in Westchester, New York, and coauthor of V Is for v**ina, for the information you need to know to stay disease-free.
Although HPV has risen from the s*xual health lexicon to become a buzzword of sorts, a lot of people still don’t understand that no s*x is necessary to catch it. “The human papillomavirus is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, whether someone touches a wart or some of the surrounding skin,” says Dweck.
HPV comes in various strains, some of which may cause genital warts and others that can result in precancerous lesions. There don’t need to be warts for you to catch it since the virus can shed even if there isn’t an outbreak. “Warts sometimes show up on parts of the body besides genitals, like fingers,” says Dweck.
A doctor can prescribe medication to get rid of the warts or use various techniques like freezing or cutting them off, but the virus may still sit dormant in your system and recur from time to time.