Can STDs Be Transmitted Through Swimming Pools? An Expert Weighs In


The Question: Is it possible to catch STDs from swimming in a pool or hot tub?

No, not unless you’re having sex in the pool with someone who has an STD.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an individual can only pass on an STD through direct person-to-person contact. Take syphilis, for example. The disease cannot be transmitted through casual contact with doorknobs, seats, eating utensils, or pools.

Dr. Edward Brooks, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford Health Care, explains that there is no evidence that an individual can get an STD from casually swimming in a pool. Transmission of STDs through a hot tub or pool are only possible if two people are engaging in sexual activity while in the water. An intimate exchange of bodily fluids is necessary in order for those types of diseases to be passed along to someone else.

Although you may have dodged that STD bullet, it’s important to remember that there are other diseases one can get from being in a pool.

“The most common are diarrheal illnesses, transmitted by ingesting the organism accidentally while swimming in the pool,” Brooks said.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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