The word sexually transmitted disease creates a misunderstanding that the disease is only transmitted through sexual route, which is not true. The disease spreads through multiple routes and sexual intercourse is one such route. Few diseases even spread through fomites, which are indeed sexually transmitted diseases. So, to demarcate a disease on the basis of sexual activity is little absurd. One should know about different routes of transmission of disease so as to take relevant steps of prevention. So a strong knowledge of a disease is important.
Can You Get A Sexually Transmitted Disease From Using The Same Towel?
Can a sexually transmitted disease be transmitted through use of towels? Yes, surely few diseases can be easily transmitted through sharing of towels. Herpes and syphilis are the example of diseases which are not usually transmitted through sharing of towels but, diseases like pediculosis which is considered to be most contagious sexually transmitted disease among all easily spreads through sharing of towels. Pediculosis is caused by crab louse. These parasites deposit their eggs at the base of hair follicles and the person using the same towel are at higher risk of getting the disease. The patient presents with itching and causes social embarrassment. Treatment of choice is permethrin 5%- it should be applied twice 10 days apart. Alternative treatment is application of gamma benzene hexachloride 1% should be used as shampoo or lotion.
Another disease which can be transmitted through use of towels is scabies. It is caused by itch mite and causes severe pruritis on flexure aspect of the elbow, wrist and buttocks. Itching is severe at night time. Treatment includes application of 5% permethrin over the entire body below the chin. Antihistaminic should also be used for treating pruritis. Few studies even suggest that Molluscum contagiosum, which is caused by poxvirus is even transmitted through sharing of towels.
Although Human papillomavirus initially was not considered under this list, but prolonged exposure to contaminated towels can cause spread of infection. If a person is having chlamydial infection and one is in active stage that is active secretions occurring which contaminates the bedding and towels then surely disease is transmitted through towels.
Another disease which can be spread through sharing of damp towels and clothing includes vaginalis caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. These organisms are transferred through sharing of moist clothes. Bacterial vaginosis even spread through moist clothes.
Other Routes of Transfer
- Blood borne infections- during transfusions
- IV drug users- who shares syringes with each other.
- Multiple sex partners.
- Homosexual males are at greater chances of acquiring the infection since they are involved in anal sex and thus the chances of abrasions and injuries are high which leads to transmission of infection.
- The person who does not use contraceptives like condoms while performing the coitus.
Since the chances of transmission of such diseases are very rare through sharing of objects, towels or fomites still one should take the precaution. Proper hygiene should be maintained. This prevents spreading of the infection. People usually never consider this important, but one should be very meticulous regarding the hygiene practices because most of the times we ourselves are the cause of the disease, not the disease itself. A little change in lifestyle can do wonders. Most of the disease requires medications along with little bit of awareness and health education. Once this practice is inculcated there is really very less chance of spread of the disease.
To conclude, there are few diseases which can be transmitted through use of towels which includes pediculosis, scabies, and bacterial vaginosis. But the diseases like syphilis, herpes and HIV do not spread through sharing of towels. But still one should take proper precautions and should not share towels with each other, no matter whether a person is an STD patient or not. Health education should be given to each one of us from early age.
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