Unfortunately, accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) often ends up mixed in with STD myths. Many people are unsure what to believe when it comes to STD symptoms and treatments or even facts about the transmission of STDs.
You can find all the information you need to separate fact from myth right here or call our team at Rapid STD Testing for more information about STD treatment options in your area. Just dial (866) 872-1888. We also offer same-day STD testing.
Why is it important to differentiate STD myths vs. facts? Misinformation about STDs – or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – can have steep consequences. Some people believe that they can’t get an STD from anal or oral sex. Others believe they can’t get an STD from a one-night stand. Myths such as these lead people to put themselves in dangerous situations where they’re more likely to contract STDs.
Individuals who misunderstand how STDs get transmitted, for example, may unknowingly expose themselves to health risks, fail to get tested, or fail to seek appropriate treatment for their condition if they contract an STD.
Lack of awareness regarding STDs represents a significant concern throughout the U.S. and is a contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of STD cases. The Kaiser Family Foundation ran a poll to measure awareness and knowledge regarding STDs nationwide. Around 36% of those surveyed were unaware that many common STDs had become more prevalent in recent years, including diseases like:
Cases of illnesses like chlamydia and gonorrhea rose to over 2.4 million in 2018, per information released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around 20% of the U.S. populace had an STD at any given time that year. These numbers represent the highest totals for STDs since the CDC began recording information on the subject, demonstrating that these illnesses continue to spread at a rapid rate.
Further, only 13% of the people surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation knew that around half the population of the U.S. will contract an STD at some point in their lives.
Myths about treatment options for STDs are also a significant cause of concern for medical professionals around the country. Some people believe that they cannot receive treatment after contracting an STD, so they do not seek assistance for the virus or bacteria that caused their illness. Learning the facts about STDs can create a safer and healthier environment for everyone, even people who are not sexually active.
When discussing STD myths and facts, many people believe they can avoid all risks of an STD if they don’t have a certain type of sex. The truth is, you can contract an STD from any form of sexual contact, including penis-in-vagina sex, anal sex, and oral sex.
In some cases, you can even contract an STD through skin-to-skin contact. Some diseases, like herpes, spread if you touch the affected area, even with your hand. You can get a rapid STD test from our team at Rapid STD Testing if you believe you were exposed to someone with an STD, even if you did not engage in intercourse.
Note that the viruses and bacteria responsible for many STD cases can enter your system through even a minor cut. While we traditionally think of fluid exchange as transmitting STDs, this is not always the case.
Many people have heard the urban legend about a friend of a friend who caught an STD just by sitting on the toilet seat in a public bathroom. The chances of getting an STD just by sitting on a toilet set are – in truth – incredibly low.
STDs come from viruses and bacteria that prefer to live in warm, moist environments. These organisms have specific biological needs that have to be met in order for them to stay alive. Toilet seats do not provide the right environment, and most viruses and bacteria begin to die shortly after they exit the body.
STDs can lead to a number of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms, including itching around the genitals, sores or bumps, and discharge from either the penis or the vagina. However, some people display no indications at all when infected.
In many cases, you have no way of knowing if someone has an STD by their appearance. Likewise, people of all demographics get STDs. One’s social standing or lifestyle choices can not be used to judge whether they do or do not have an STD.
Many people are asymptomatic and do not even realize they have an STD. However, even people who have no symptoms can spread an STD to others. You can check your health status with a 10-panel STD test.
Note that – because you cannot visibly tell if someone has an STD – you may not want to take another person’s word for it if they say they do not have an STI or STD. You can protect yourself in this situation by using a condom for every sexual act, including oral intercourse.
Speaking of oral sex, rumor has it that you can avoid contracting an STD if you avoid vaginal or anal sex. While you are less likely to contract an STD when giving or receiving oral sex, you can still contract illnesses like herpes, HPV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
HPV represents a common concern associated with oral sex. Individuals can develop neck or head cancer due to exposure to HPV. In other situations, exposure to this virus can result in the growth of warts in the throat. HPV can also lead to genital warts or cancers of the penis, cervix, or anus.
Fortunately, you can take protective measures to defend against STDs when engaging in oral sex. Medical professionals recommend the use of condoms or dental dams during each sexual act. If you contracted an STD, like herpes, you can seek treatment to mitigate the effects of the illness. Getting treatment can help reduce or control breakouts of the STD.
A single medical study carried out in Uganda is often touted as the source of the circumcision STD myth. According to this myth, circumcision can prevent men from catching STDs. That study did show that heterosexual men had lower chances of contracting HPV and genital herpes if they were circumcised.
However, the study did not indicate that circumcision provided total protection from STDs, and, even then, it only showed a modest decrease in the transmission rate of the STDs tested. The study also did not address transmission rates associated with homosexual intercourse.
Condoms are the only protection method with a high rate of success in preventing STDs for both circumcised and uncircumcised individuals. While circumcision may provide a level of increased protection from some STDs, you cannot trust it as a form of protection from these illnesses.
In the study, circumcised individuals only saw a 25% lower risk for the development of genital warts, for example.
Birth control methods – like the pill – can help you avoid getting pregnant. However, most birth control methods cannot help you avoid STDs. In fact, condoms are the only birth control method that effectively protects against the transmission of STDs.
Some studies indicate that you may receive a degree of protection from STDs with a progesterone IUD, but scientists have not confirmed this hypothesis yet. Testing the theory on your own could lead to an STD infection, so make sure that you continue to use condoms when on this form of birth control.
Along this line, many people wonder if it is possible to sleep with someone with an STD and not get it. While it is possible to have sexual contact without an infected individual and not contract the STD, it is still vital to take appropriate precautions (such as using a condom each time you have intercourse). “Beating the odds” once is not proof that a particular approach to preventing STDs, such as birth control, works.
Plenty of movies and television shows have shown happy couples engaging in sexual intercourse in a hot tub. Rumor has it that the chlorine in the hot tub kills the viruses or bacteria that lead to STDs, allowing you to safely engage in safe unprotected sex.
This myth contains no grains of truth. Chlorine and hot water do not help you avoid contracting an STD. In fact, sex in a hot tub may prove more dangerous when it comes to STD transmission, as the hot water can break down a latex condom, reducing its protective benefits.
Some STDs can have deadly consequences, like AIDS and syphilis. However, you can get medical treatment for even these severe illnesses in many situations. Other STDs lead to additional issues if they go untreated.
You may develop urinary tract infections or cancers if you contract an STD and fail to seek treatment. Some untreated STDs can result in infertility, meaning they could prevent you from having children in the future.
Even “minor” STDs can cause significant discomfort, including itching and burning. The longer you allow an STD to go without treatment, the more serious the results can become. For this reason, it’s very important to get tested to assess your health.
The results of your STD testing can allow medical professionals to develop a treatment plan to help you avoid serious health consequences. You can also protect your sexual partners by getting tested and practicing safe sex procedures.
You may have heard that people only catch STDs if they have multiple sexual partners. If this were true, being in a monogamous relationship could allow you to feel confident about avoiding STDs. However, your risk for STDs in this situation could depend upon your partner’s past sexual history.
Many couples feel uncomfortable discussing their sexual history with one another. In a similar way, many people do not consider getting tested before they begin a new sexual relationship. However, taking these steps can help you feel more aware of your potential risks, so you can make an informed decision about the kind of protection you want to use in your relationship.
Furthermore, reducing your risk of exposure to STDs requires monogamy on the part of all partners in a relationship, which is never guaranteed. Likewise, some STDs can be contracted through non-sexual contact.
For instance, while HSV2 is often sexually transmitted, HSV1, which causes cold sores, can be spread by something as innocent as sharing a cup. You can learn more HSV1 vs. HSV2 facts by contacting our team at Rapid STD Testing.
People of any age can contract an STD. However, infection and transmission rates are higher in some age groups than in others. No one age group has an automatic resistance to the bacteria and viruses that cause STDS. You cannot “age out” of a risk for contracting STDs.
What age group are STDs most common in? Young people and teens tend to have higher rates of STDs, but this is not a result of age-related vulnerability. Many young people are not in monogamous relationships, which means they have exposure to more partners who could have an infection.
Young people also worry more about talking about sexual concerns with anyone, let alone a health care provider, making it more difficult for them to get treatment. They also may be less likely to have access to condoms, dental dams, and other preventive measures. To support this, research suggests that when condoms are made easily available to youth, rates of sexual disease decrease.
However, to reiterate, despite the higher prevalence of STDs in younger populations, individuals at any age can catch and spread STDs.
Misconceptions regarding STDs can have significant health consequences. Individuals who don’t understand the risks associated with STDs may not seek medical care if they develop concerns about medical issues, allowing the illness to grow more severe.
Misinformation can also prevent individuals from recognizing the symptoms of an STD. While many STDs do not cause obvious symptoms, some of these illnesses lead to itching, discomfort, or noticeable discharge. Recognizing these symptoms allows individuals to seek the treatment they require to manage the ailment before it causes more damage to their bodies.
STDs myths also contribute to the spread of these illnesses. Individuals who believe they can prevent STDs by having sex in a hot tub, for example, could end up spreading a disease to others. These facts make it even more important that we all take steps to promote accurate information regarding STDs.
What can you do? You can clear up many common misconceptions by examining the facts about STDs as presented by trustworthy sources and sharing them with others. Medical organizations like the CDC back up their statements regarding STDs with facts and verified test results.
Fact-checking any information you find can also help you feel more confident about your understanding of these diseases. Official medical sources – including hospitals – can provide additional information regarding STDs, their symptoms, and the results of an infection. You can use medical sources to learn more about methods to prevent the transmission of STDs, including proper condom usage, as well.
Finally, you can learn more about your current health status through STD testing. Getting this information can inform your sexual choices, allowing you to make decisions that keep you – and any potential sexual partners – safe.
Separating STD facts from STD myths can help you feel more confident about your health. You can learn more about your personal risk level by visiting an STD testing facility or contacting our team at Rapid STD Testing to order a test or panel. Get the information you’re looking for by calling (866) 872-1888.