By Angela Hall
With the continuous development of science and technology particularly evident in the medical field, it is a surprise that many of us are still uneducated or ignorant of the truth behind some myths about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). As implied by the name, an STD is acquired through sexual intercourse; however, that is not the only way to get it and spread it. The diseases that fall under this category include genital warts, genital herpes, HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and some types of Hepatitis.
If you still think like your neighbor who believes that a person with HIV is one step away from death or who advocates that oral sex is a safe practice to avoid STD, then you’re on the wrong page. Let’s clear up some myths and misconceptions that many still believe even in this modern age.
Anal and Oral Sex Are Safe Practices to Prevent STDs
Anal and oral sex are indeed safe practices… if what you want to avoid is pregnancy and not STD. Although there is a lower risk of contracting STD through oral sex, the greatest risk is attributed to anal intercourse, as the skin in that region is most prone to tears. STDs that can be transmitted orally include gonorrhea and chlamydia. If you have any sores or cuts in your mouth, it is also possible to transmit HIV.
Birth Control Pills Protect Me from Acquiring STDs
The name of the pill itself tells you its only purpose. This is a myth, as birth control pills prevent you from getting pregnant, not STD. Condoms, on the other hand, can lower the risk of acquiring the disease during vaginal intercourse.
Two Condoms in Use at Once Will Protect Me
This is another myth. Given that condoms lower your chance of getting STD, using two at a time will not help. Instead, it will only aggravate the situation. The friction between the two protective sheaths can increase the possibility of them tearing, breaking, and leaking. So much for being so sure that it backfires on you!
HIV Is Only an Issue for Gays and Drug Users
This is an absolute myth! Thanks to the power of media, HIV was portrayed as a disease only gays and drug users acquire. The truth is that regardless of your race, nationality, socioeconomic background, gender, or sexuality, you can contract the disease if you’ve been exposed to the virus through any blood or sexual means, even childbirth.
I Can’t Have an STD if I Only Sleep with One Partner
This is as mythical as the existence of unicorns. Sure, you can be confident that you’re sleeping with one partner, but the question lies in your lover’s history. Acquiring STD is a two-way risk; if your partner is involved in sexual contact with more than one person, or has been in the past, and the other person has or had a disease, the virus can be transmitted from them to your partner and then to you.
I Can Acquire the Disease from a Toilet Seat
This myth has been going around since the invention of the toilet seat, and even now, when we have automatic toilet flushers, there is still no scientific evidence that proves this true. Again, STDs are contracted primarily via sexual intercourse and possibly through oral and anal sex. Typically, bacteria and viruses causing STDs don’t live outside the body for an extended period. There is also no evidence supporting the claim that feces and urine on the toilet seat can cause STD.
Once I Had an STD, I Can Never Have It Again
This is a myth even if we’re talking about chicken pox. Yes, it’s possible to contract STD again even after getting treated for it the other time. In fact, many people find themselves acquiring chlamydia and gonorrheal infection multiple times because they keep having sex with the infected person. If the doctor says to abstain from sex, he or she means to abstain from sex. Period.
Herpes Cannot Be Transmitted If There Is No Outbreak
This is a myth. Even if there are no visible signs of the disease, herpes can still be spread. The best way to prevent it from spreading is to take immunosuppressant drugs. If not, the risk of getting herpes is always high.
HIV Means You Are One Step Away from Death
With the advancement and development of technology, it has become possible to treat HIV infection. HIV can’t be cured, but therapies to treat it make it possible for people with the infection to live longer, healthier lives. They can even have kids who are negative of the virus.
STD Is Obvious in a Person Who Has Been Infected
This is a total myth. People with infections mostly can’t tell they have it. Even doctors who specialize in reproductive health can’t tell at a glance if a person has an STD or not. It is because STDs don’t always have apparent signs, and they don’t always cause symptoms. Even if one feels and looks healthy, it is still possible to carry the bacteria or virus that causes the infection.
Most of the time, we brush off correct information and stick with these myths that we know, but more often than not, it leads us astray. With these myths busted and the facts set out in plain sight, we hope to help you practice safer sex and live a safer life. You can click here to research more on the health implications of getting infected with STDs.
Angie is a health enthusiast who specializes in spreading STDeducation across the country. She enjoys what she does and loves to travel to different areas. She loves to write for websites and is a family girl at heart.