When it comes to your sexual health, it is of utmost importance to be able to identify facts from fiction. You cannot just believe whatever comes out of the mouths of the people around you. You cannot just take whatever you read online as truths. You should do more digging and research to fact-check. Your entire health and wellbeing can be put at great risk if you are misinformed, so being proactive in gathering only accurate information on sexually transmitted diseases is a must.
The following are some common myths about sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cleared up:
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Myth: You can get STDs from a toilet seat.
Fact: STDs cannot be transmitted via a toilet seat because the viruses and bacteria that cause STDs cannot survive very long outside the human body. Rather, they are passed on from one person to another by sexual contact — vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex. So, the next time you go out, there is no reason for you to hold your pee in for too long because you do not want to do your business in public toilets due to the risk of STDs, and would rather wait until you get home. If there is something about public toilet seats that you should be concerned about, they are germs that can cause common colds, and bugs that can carry other types of infections and diseases.
Myth: You can get HIV if you get bit by a mosquito carrying the virus.
Fact: The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, cannot be transmitted via mosquitoes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, there have been no scientific research and studies that have found and proven that HIV transmission from a mosquito to a human being has occurred. Even in countries where HIV and AIDS and mosquitoes are major problems, they have not gathered any evidence that supports this myth.
Myth: If you only do oral sex, you will not get an STD.
Fact: Vaginal sex and anal sex are not the only sexual acts that open you up to STDs. If you engage in oral sex, you are still at risk of contracting these viruses and bacteria. For instance, if your sex partner has an oral herpes sore and performs oral sex acts on you, there is a possibility that the virus from the sore travels to your genital area and infects it.
Myth: It is okay to use a condom more than once.
Fact: Condoms can only be used once. They cannot and should not be recycled. They cannot and should not be washed to be used again for next time. Used ones should immediately be disposed of. If you have no access to more condoms, are too embarrassed to purchase more, or are too broke to buy more, you should drop by your community health clinic to avail of free condoms. Used condoms are not as durable as they are when new, so there is a risk of pregnancy, STD transmission, and other dangers.
Myth: Only gay men can get HIV.
Fact: HIV can strike anyone. It can infect men, women, adults, and children. It can be transmitted from one individual to another by sexual intercourse, whether vaginal or anal. It can also be passed on through exposure to infected blood, and from an HIV-positive pregnant woman to her baby. It is not a disease that only hunts down gay people. It does not care for your gender or sexual orientation.
Myth: Only people who sleep around can get STDs.
Fact: Whether you have multiple sex partners or are in a monogamous sexual relationship, you are at risk of STDs. While those who sleep around or have a different sex partner every night may have a higher chance of getting infected, those who are seeing only one person are not 100% guaranteed to remain STD-free. There is always the possibility of one or both partners having affairs or cheating, without the other knowing. Unless the both of you get an STD test together and share your test results to one another, and commit to being truthful and faithful, you should always be mindful of your sexual health.
Myth: If you do anal sex, you do not need to use a condom.
Fact: STDs can be transmitted not only via vaginal sex and oral sex, but via anal sex too. According to one study, using condoms during anal sex with an HIV-infected partner had a 70% efficiency rate in stopping the virus transmission. Therefore, the use of condoms should also be observed if you do anal, whether you are male or female, to protect against STDs.
Myth: There is no way you can get HIV from getting a body piercing or a tattoo.
Fact: Apart from sexual intercourse, another way to transmit HIV is through exposure to HIV-positive blood. So, if you get a body piercing or a tattoo, and the tools used are not properly disinfected and sterilized, you can be in danger of being infected. To protect yourself, you should not hesitate to ask about the business establishment’s precautionary measures. Find out what sterilization techniques they use to keep their equipment clean and safe for their customers. If you are having doubts, you can always find another place that implements much better safety procedures.
Myth: Birth control pills can protect against STDs.
Fact: Birth control pills have no power against STDs. They are used to prevent pregnancy, reduce menstrual cramps and bleeding, and manage other menstrual-related conditions. If a woman takes them, she can lower her risk of acne, ovarian cysts, infections in the reproductive organs, and anemia, too. To prevent STDs, you really have to use barriers, such as condoms or dams, to block the passage of viruses and bacteria that cause these infections. You should also undergo an STD test regularly, especially if you are sexually active, to detect early on anything that can bring serious damage and harm to your body and be able to receive the proper treatment right away.