Do you believe that using plastic wrap instead of a condom will prevent you from getting an STD? Are you someone who thinks that HIV equals a death sentence? If so, you are misinformed. There are tons of STD myths floating around, but are they actually true? Here we will clear up some of the biggest misconceptions about STDs and determine what is right and what is just plain bogus.
Myth #1: HIV is a death sentence.
Truth: HIV is not a death sentence. Due to advanced medical technology, patients that have been diagnosed with HIV are living longer, more fulfilling lives than ever before. With regular treatment, HIV patients can live normal lives and are even capable of having children that are HIV-negative.
Myth #2: I can get an STD from sitting on a toilet.
Truth: There is no scientific evidence that proves that sitting on a toilet seat will give you an STD. Sexually transmitted diseases are contracted by, you guessed it, sexual contact (at least generally speaking). Bacteria and viruses that cause STDs typically do not live outside the body for very long and there hasn’t been a study that shows that urine or fecal matter from a toilet seat has been the cause of an STD. There are a number of STDs you can get without having sex though; check out the full list here.
Myth #3: I’ve only slept with one partner, I can’t have an STD.
Truth: False. Having sex with only one partner does not eliminate you from contracting an STD. Even if you yourself have only had one partner, it is still important to consider your significant other’s past sexual experiences. The only way to be 100 percent sure that you and your partner do not have an STD is to get tested by a medical professional.
Myth #4: I can tell if someone has an STD.
Truth: This one is completely bogus! Many STDs do not have tell-tale signs or symptoms and can, on occasion, go completely unnoticed. STDs such as chlamydia and HPV show very few symptoms and can cause health-related problems if left untreated. As always, your best bet is to get tested and not assume you or someone you know is STD-free based on how well-groomed, clean or attractive he or she may appear.
Myth #5: I can’t get an STD from oral or anal sex.
Truth: STDs can be transmitted via semen, blood, or genital contact. Having oral and anal sex will not prevent you from contracting an STD. It is important to practice safe sex at all times. Many of them are transmitted during oral sex; check out which ones here.
Myth #6: HIV is a gay/African-American/Latino/drug-user’s disease.
Truth: Absolutely false. No matter what socioeconomic or ethnic background, anyone can contract HIV if they have been exposed to the virus through sexual contact or blood exchange, or contracting it during childbirth or from breast milk.
Myth #7: Using two condoms will prevent me from getting an STD.
Truth: Doubling up on condom usage will not prevent you from getting an STD. The friction between the two condoms could actually increase chances of the condom breaking or leaking. In this case less is more. Use one condom every time you engage in intercourse.
Myth #8: Birth control pills will protect me from getting an STD.
Truth: Birth control pills are not designed to protect you against HIV and STDs. Using condoms regularly can significantly reduce your chances of both pregnancy and STDs.
Myth #9: If my partner pulls out, I will not get an STD.
Truth: STDs/STIs like Human Papillomavirus and Molluscum Contagiosum can be contracted by genital contact, so pulling out will not protect you against certain infections.
Myth #10: I can only get herpes if my partner has an outbreak.
Truth: This myth is false. You can still get herpes even if there are no visible signs. A herpes infection can have very few symptoms so many people can be unaware that they have it. Fever blisters, genital burning or itching, or swollen glands are recognizable symptoms, but in many cases it is unclear that someone may be infected.
Regular testing is the only surefire way to tell if someone has an STD, so act responsibly and know your status before engaging in intercourse.