[Question #5103] STI from lap dance

25 months ago
Hello,
A couple of years ago, I got a couple of lap dances where I was fully clothed but  the dancer was nude. I may have made contact with her breasts and buttocks with my hands. Her breasts may have brushed against my lips for a second. There was no other contact whatsoever. 
(a) What is the risk I have for contracting STI's.  
(b) Should I get tested for STI's especially Herpes HSV1/HSV2. 
(3) I have had no symptoms related to HSV1/HSV2 at all. I was planning to take the HSV blood test but read that it can yield false positives.   
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
25 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

Some questions can be pretty accurately answered just from the information in the title or opening lines. Yours is in this category.

STIs are harder to transmit than you might think. They are not just infections that happen to involve the genitals or can be transmitted by brief or superficial genital contact. The bacteria and viruses that cause them evolved to require sex itself -- usually meaning penile penetration into a partner's vagina, rectum, or mouth -- for transmission. And no STIs are transmitted by hand-genital contact, fingering, or kissing. Or through clothing. So this was a zero risk event for any and all STIs.

Those comments pretty well answer your specific quesitons, but to assure no misundertanding:

1) Zero risk.

2) No testing is needed, including HSV. You may have read that HSV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. That's true, but it doesn't mean that ANY skin contact can do it. HSV generally must be massaged into the tissues for transmission to occur. Contact like you had is no risk at all.

3) It is true that the HSV blood tests have problems. They can give both false positive and false negative results.  All experts recommend against HSV blood tests except in people at substantial risk for herpes, such as those with symptoms that might or might not be due to HSV; or the regular sex partners of people known to have HSV1 or HSV2. Based on the lap dances you are concerned about, you obviously do not fall into either of these categories and should not be tested.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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25 months ago
Thanks a ton for your quick replies! I was very anxious since I read that HSV1 or HSV2 can be transmitted by mere skin contact (with lips) or even through sharing of utensils.  Based on your response, it appears that my contact is zero risk. 
(a) Just a clarification so that I am clear on the risks: does that imply that essentially one requires pro-longed kissing (not just a cursory peck) or extended sharing of saliva/utensils to have a reasonable probability of catching HSV1/2 (so that the viral load crosses a threshold). The reason I ask is because I also lived with room-mates and ended up sharing utensils sometimes although they were always washed before each use and I was wondering if that is a risk factor. I am getting married soon and although I have never had any prior sexual relationships, the fact that even sharing utensils can cause HSV made me anxious. Thanks!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
25 months ago
Yes:  a quick kiss is unlikely to transmit HSV. The risk isn't zero, but it's very low. Sharing utensils etc in a shared apartment with HSV1 infected persons is low risk -- but not zero. In any case, half of all adults in the US (up to 90% in some areas) eventually have HSV1, often with no known exposures. So you might get it someday. But who cares? (I have oral HSV1. It has made no difference in my life.) Stop worrying about a normal, expected, mostly unimportant infection!---
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25 months ago
Thanks a ton! So I guess I was being paranoid about catching something from the lap dances and I should move on based on your first answer and not worry about it.  I now understand that I should not be worried about catching HSV1 from shared utensils (since anyways it can occur at some time anyways, given the high rates of people who have it from non-sexual contact).  Unless I mus-understood this, I have no further questions and you may close this. Thanks once again!   
25 months ago
Also, would you recommend I be taking any special precautions while performing oral sex with my wife given that I have no symptoms of HSV-1/2. Thanks!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
25 months ago
You and your wife can safely pursue any and all sexual practices that you both agree to without coercion, inclusing oral sex.

That concludes this thread. I hope the discussion has been helpful. Best wishes and stay safe.
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