Top 10 Myths About STDs
- A short video...
- You can't get an STD from oral sex.
Wrong. You can. Don't let anyone tell you that unprotected oral sex is 100% safe sex. Going down, giving head, blow jobs, going downtown, whatever you call it - if you do it or it's done on you, you could be at risk for getting an STD. Maybe you're thinking, "Well, it's only a problem if you have an orgasm." Not true. There's evidence that pre-ejaculate can cause infections. Especially if there's an open sore or your gums are bleeding. Use a condom or dental dam when you have oral sex for better safety.
- You can only get herpes when your partner is having an outbreak that you can see.
Not Exactly. You may be surprised to know that a lot of people have herpes and don't even know it. You can get herpes from so meone who looks healthy and feels fine. It's catching even when there's no visible outbreak. Doctors recommend using a condom with a partner who has herpes - even when he or she is between outbreaks. And if you're not sure if you have herpes, the only way to know is to get tested. Symptoms don't always show up. Of the almost 70 million people with genital herpes, 80 percent have no signs or can't recognize them. Yeah, it's amazing.
- If you have an STD, believe me, you'll see it and know it.
No, don't believe it. Many STDs are silent. They don't cause any symptoms at all. So it's not a case of "I'll believe it when I see it." Unless, of course, you have microscopic, X-ray, DNA-detecting vision. What we're saying is - get tested if you are concerned about STDs. Play sexual defense.
- Only slutty girls and cheating guys get STDs.
If only that were true. 19 million new infections are diagnosed every year. Not everyone is a player. In fact, the nicest, most innocent, sweetest, smartest, coolest, "cleanest", straightest, loyal, non-cheating types have STDs.The opposite is just as true. This is definitely a case of "don't judge a book by its cover." You can't be an STD detective.
- If you have sex in a pool or hot tub, the chlorine will kill anything and everything.
Good try. This is a suburban legend. Chlorine is not a disinfectant and will not kill an STD-causing bacteria or virus. It will not kill sperm. Chlorine is not a condom. A condom is a condom. And latex condoms in hot tubs can break down.
- If you don't have a condom, use plastic wrap.
This is like MacGyver sex. Plastic wrap is not a good substitute for a condom. Most wraps have tiny holes. Health educators will, however, recommend plastic wrap to be used instead of a dental dam for oral sex. But it's still a risk. Use a condom and don't improvise.
- I don't need to use a condom. My partner doesn't have an STD. I can tell.
- Really? Are you a special kind of diagnostic vampire who can take blood and urine samples and process the specimens? Look, we don't know each other and we don't know your partner. And we're not saying that your partner sleeps around. But STDs are often "silent". No telltale bumps, rashes, or other signs. You can't tell if someone has an STD. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. Get tested together. That way you can get some rest.
- Skin to skin contact isn't enough. You can only get an STD from semen.
No, not true. While semen and blood can spread some STDs, like herpes and syphilis can be spread with skin on skin contact. For example, when herpes flares up, an active sore appears. When this sore comes into contact with your skin or other moist areas like the mouth, throat, and areas with cuts or rashes, it can spread. It can also be spread before the blisters actually form.
- The Pill prevents STDs.
Birth control pills prevent babies, not sexually-transmitted infections.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea are no big deal and will go away on their own.
Here's the bad news. You or your sex partner may have chlamydia or gonorrhea and not know it. And now the good news: both of these infections are curable with antibiotics. And, yes, untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea can be a big deal. Left untreated, these STDs can lead to infertility and something called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) This disease harms the fallopian tubes in women and can cause a dangerous pregnancy called a "tubal pregnancy." With guys, untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to an inflamed prostate, urethral scarring, infertility, or epididymitis.
- BONUS Myth: 2 condoms are better than 1.
You'd think so, but no. First - ouch. The CDC and the condom makers warn against this idea of 2 condoms. Why? It's about friction. The condoms rub against each other during sex and increase the chance of one or both breaking or slipping off.
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