Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs as they are otherwise known, are so common that more than half of all people are expected to get an infection at some point in their lives. While it would be natural to assume that its high rate of occurrence must mean that most people are aware of how it spreads and how it is diagnosed, the reality is far from that. In fact, there are so many myths and misinformation about STDs out there that it is hard to know what to believe and what to ignore.
We decided to take a quick look at five of the most common STD myths and the real truth about them.
Myth 1 – If you don’t have any symptoms, then you don’t have an STD.
Truth: In short, this is the biggest and the most dangerous myth surrounding STDs. Many people mistakenly think that they can immediately tell when they get an STD. But a lot of STDs, such as chlamydia, do not show any symptoms during the initial stages of infection. By the time you develop symptoms, the disease may have already caused a lot of damage to your body. Other STDs have common symptoms that are often misdiagnosed or confused with other diseases. It is always important to remember that you can carry an STD and transmit it to your partner even if you are asymptomatic. So if you have had unprotected sex recently with a new partner, make sure that you get tested.
Myth 2 – Only promiscuous people get STDs.
Truth: While it may be easier to believe that only sexually promiscuous people get STDs, the truth is that anyone can get an STD if he or she is sexually active – it does not matter if you are straight or gay, rich or poor, old or young. In fact, if your partner has an STD, you can contract the infection even if it is the first time you are having sex.
Myth 3 – You can’t get an STD if you have never had sexual intercourse.
Truth: Contrary to popular belief, you can get an STD even if you have never had sexual intercourse. You can contract an infection if you have oral or anal sex with an infected person or use unsanitary needles. Some STDs like herpes can also be passed through skin-to-skin contact with an active sore. However, you cannot get an STD from touching objects like doorknobs or toilet seats – that is just another myth.
Myth 4 – You can’t get an STD if you are on the pill.
Truth: Oral contraceptives or the pill can only protect you from an unwanted pregnancy. They cannot protect you from contracting an STD. Barrier methods, such as condoms and dental dams, are the only methods of protection against contracting an STD through vaginal, oral or anal sex.
Myth 5 – You can’t get the same STD again.
Truth: You can get the same STD multiple times in your life. Getting treated for an STD does not protect you from catching the same infection again, especially if you continue to have unprotected sex. Some sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and Herpes are for life, but you can manage them through proper treatment.