It's a life fact: anyone can get a sexually transmitted disease, or STD. These diseases aren't limited to people society deems exceptionally slutty," or "easy," or any other characterizations used to shame people who are sexually active. Anyone get can one. But, unfortunately, misinformation and misconceptions run rampant when it comes to STDs. There are all sorts of
STD myths that need to dispelled because, for better or worse, everyone needs to know the real-life truths about STDs in order to be able to best protect themselves.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, combined rates for
chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are at a "record high" in the United States and young people, women, and gay and bisexual men are still most susceptible. Knowing the facts — and the misinformation that exists — is especially important for these vulnerable populations, but since STDs really don't discriminate, everyone should brush up on their STD fact and fiction.
Obviously, safe sex practices such as
correctly using a condom can limit your risk and help keep you safe and healthy, but it's still important to right the wrongs when it comes to STD misconceptions. Here, 12 myths that need to be set straight right now. Myth #1: You're Only At Risk If You're Sleeping Around Krista Mangulsone/Unsplash
Let's get this one out of the way first. Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC's Division of Sexual Disease Prevention told WebMD, that
anyone can contract an STD and it's hard to know if a potential partner (or yourself) is infected without going to the doctor and getting tested. Myth #2: They Can Get Passed Along Via A Toilet Seat
People have long blamed public bathroom toilet seats as sources of potential STD transmission, but the science doesn't really back it up. Dr. Raegan McDonald-Moseley told
Teen Vogue that because the viruses and bacteria that cause STDs like to live inside the human body, it's unlikely that they'd survive outside of it long enough to infect someone else that way. Myth #3: You Can't Get An STD From Oral Sex Myth #4: You Don't Have An STD If You Don't Have Symptoms Myth #6: You Can't Get An STD More Than Once Myth #7: Birth Control Pills Are Effective Against STDS Myth #8: Two Condoms Means More Protection Myth #9: Pap Smears Test For STDs PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay
Though Pap smears do test cervical cells for cervical cancer (which HPV can cause),
Pap smears aren't effective STD tests, according to the American Sexual Health Association. If you want to be screened for STDs, talk to your doctor. Myth #10: You Won't Get An STD In A Committed Relationship
Remember, STDs don't discriminate and anyone can get them. Talk to your partner about their sexual history and make sure both of you have been screened for STDs.
Myth #11: Hot Tubs Protect Against STDs
The rumor here is that the chlorine present in hot tub water prevents STDs from spreading. False. McDonald-Moseley told
Teen Vogue that not only does having sex in a hot tub not prevent the transmission of STDs, but it could put you at risk for other kinds of vaginal infections. Myth #12: You Can Only Catch Herpes During An Outbreak PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay