There is a lot of misinformation given out about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). When learning about sexual health it is important to do all the research possible and understand what may and may not be transmitted during sexual contact. No matter your age you may have learned about STDs in middle school health class, but who remembers everything from 6th-8th grade? Maybe you remember the scariest stories told by your teacher regarding sexual health, but have been misinformed in other cases once you left those health classes. From a young age we have been taught about the importance of practicing safe sex, but did we fully grasp just how important that was? We are here to clear the air and tell you the truth about many of the myths about STDs you should be aware of!
1. STDs are only transmitted with genital intercourse
This is one of the most common misconceptions about STDs. Many people are led to believe that STDs can’t be shared through oral sex, and are strictly genital intercourse. This is very false! STDs can be spread in a number of ways from oral intercourse, to vaginal/penile intercourse, to anal intercourse. If you are curious just what can be transmitted through oral sex read our article, Oral STDs: What You Need to Know. Practicing safe sex using condoms and dental dams is very important to help prevent the spread of any STDs.
2. Only get tested once
Every time you participate in sex, whether genital or oral, you expose yourself to STDs. It is important to test yourself every 3-6 months, especially after testing positive. You want to ensure your health and safety, as well as your partner's health and safety. When you get tested don’t assume because it is negative that you are clear for the next few years - some STDs can take up to 3 months for detection. You also want to be sure you test every possible area for an STD, such as the throat and anus along with the genital area. One negative test doesn’t mean a clean pass every time.
3. I’ll know if I have an STD
One of the most common myths about STDs is that you will be well aware when you have one. This is not true. Many patients won’t show any symptoms of an STD, or may show symptoms that are similar to yeast and bacterial infections. Nearly 80% of men and women won’t show symptoms for different STDs, which can lead to spreading among partners. It is crucial to speak with your doctor or order a SelfCollect test every 3-6 months, and after engaging with a new partner(s).
4. STDs are shameful
Many people tend to feel shame or embarrassment when talking about STDs, but they are nothing to be ashamed of! Nearly 50% of people in the United States will contract an STD at one point in their lifetime. Whether you become infected with an STD or know of a friend who is infected, it is important to be supportive and encouraging in proper sexual health. Encourage yourself, your partner(s), and your friends to test regularly. Taking your health by the reins means you can prevent any serious health issues down the line. Don’t be embarrassed, be smart and get tested!
5. Testing isn’t necessary in a monogamous relationship
Although condoms help to decrease your risk of infection, they don’t always work. When you are entering a monogamous relationship it is important to speak with your partner about the last time they were tested. Unfortunately, we live in a world where being proactive is very important, and we also live in a world where negative results may really be positive. You want to be tested a few times to ensure a negative result is truly negative. Talk to your partner about testing every few months for each of you to ensure safety.
We know how nerve racking it can be to go to a doctors office for testing. You may have questions racing through your mind as you decide what test you need. If you don’t want to go to your doctor’s office, order a test kit from SelfCollect. Our at home testing allows you to have all the privacy you need in the comfort of your own home. Remember that testing is not shameful, but proactive and important for your health!