Our modern society may have been open to sex than the previous era, but there is still the stigma of STD that’s left. As a result, there are still many individuals who are uncomfortable discussing STD and are easily misled by others who also got the wrong information – the blind leading the blind. Thus, misconceptions were created out of the stigma of having STD, and most of the time, these misconceptions are not useful at all and may hinder the progress of treating STD.
Thus, to help inform the general public about STD, we’ll share here some of the popular misconceptions of STD and what their factual counterparts are.
1. Only Unhealthy People Get STDs
Contrary to this common misconception, STDs do not discriminate whether you are healthy or sick. A gym buff can get STDs. A couch potato can get them. An athlete can get them. STDs also do not discriminate against social statuses. STDs can afflict rich people, poor people, artists, politicians, and businesspersons. Even people having sex for the first time can get STDs. While having multiple sexual partners puts you at a higher risk for STD, having a single or steady sexual partner doesn’t mean you’re safe from STD either. The only way you are safe from STD is if you haven’t had sex or any form of sexual contact.
That being said, take the necessary precautions like practicing safe sex, consulting your doctor about your sexual health, and getting tested regularly for STDs. You can choose to have the test done at your doctor’s clinic, submit your urine, blood, or swab samples to a medical laboratory, or have STD testing online if you want to keep it discreet. If both you and your partner get past this misconception and are open to the idea of getting yourselves tested, then you are strengthening the bond of trust while also making your sexual relationship and intimacy safer and more enjoyable.
2. Only Gay Men Get STDs
It’s time to put this discriminatory misconception to rest for good. This misconception may have been spawned by the prevalence of STDs, particularly HIV, among men who have sex with other men. While studies and statistics point out higher percentages of STDs like syphilis, herpes, and HIV among men who have sex with men, these sexually transmitted infections are also passed through heterosexual sex and even lesbian sex, although rarely. Any sexually active person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, can be at risk for STDs, especially HIV. Another thing to remember is that STDs like HIV are highly contagious and can be transmitted in other ways aside from sex. Sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted through unprotected (without a condom or dam) vaginal, oral, or anal sex. They can also be transmitted through genital contact, sharing of sex, or sharing of needless for drug-induced sex. Wearing condoms and dental dams during sex can significantly reduce the risk of getting an STD.
3. You Can Get STD from a Toilet Seat
Scientists and medical experts have debunked this myth to allay the fears of those who are insufficiently informed. While the viruses and bacteria in STDs have a high rate of infection, they are not hardy enough to survive outside the human body, where they thrive the most. Viruses are particularly infectious, and viral STIs like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and human papillomavirus (HPV), are often thought to be contracted in public toilets. Unlike other forms of viruses (e.g., common cold virus, flu virus, coronavirus), the STD viruses cannot thrive on surfaces like toilet seats, doorknobs, utensils, towels, bedsheets, and even drinking glasses. These viruses can be easily cleaned from surfaces, but you still have to be careful of other harmful organisms in toilets.
4. You Can Die from Contracting an STD
There can be a remote chance that you can die from an STD, but not instantly. Deaths in relation to STDs often involve complications from other diseases or the rapid deterioration of your overall health. Modern medicine has allowed doctors to recommend effective treatments and interventions for STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others. Even AIDS is no longer a dreaded and highly lethal disease when early interventions and treatments are applied to persons with HIV infection. Retroviral drugs help control the activities and potential spreading factor of HIV while also improving the quality of life and immunity of HIV-infected persons. Other medications for HIV help maintain proper metabolism, blood circulation, and waste elimination, which are crucial for prolonging the lives of HIV-infected and AIDS patients and preventing serious health complications. Prevention is still better than cure, so practice protective and safe sex and seek medical consultations if you think you are exposed to an STD.
There are more misconceptions about STD that we haven’t included, but we hope that what we discussed here somehow clears up the unfounded notions. Dissemination of correct information is essential in the campaign to spread awareness and promote safe sex practices. Being properly informed about STDs is a key step in preventing the spread of the disease or mitigating its negative effects.