STD Myths

Myths about STDs have been around almost as long as the diseases themselves, but you’d think the information age would have stopped their spread and helped people educate themselves as to their STD risks. Here are some of the most common STD myths we’ve seen:

1) Myth: You can easily tell if someone has an STD.

Many STDs have no significant signs or symptoms and go completely unnoticed. This is one of the most dangerous STD myths out there. You can’t truly know someone’s status without an STD test.

2) Myth: Anal and oral sex are safer than vaginal intercourse.

Anal and oral sex can’t prevent STDs. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can still be passed through oral sex. If someone has cuts or open sores in their mouth, they could even get HIV from ingesting infected semen.

Anal intercourse is even riskier since the anal membrane can more easily tear, increasing exposure to STDs.

3) Myth: You can only get herpes if your partner is experiencing an outbreak.

Many people don’t even know they have herpes. The STD Test Express website says that herpes symptoms can be inactive for weeks before an outbreak happens. You partner could look and feel healthy, but still be infected and pass the herpes virus to you.

4) Myth: You can’t get an STD if you’ve only had sex one time.

Even if you’ve only had sex with one person, one time, that doesn’t mean your partner is in the same boat.

Take note: if your partner has chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis, you have a 30 percent chance of getting infected with those STDs. Statistics like this are what make this STD myth so dangerous.

5) Myth: You can get an STD from a toilet seat.

There is no scientific evidence to back up this statement. STDs are transmitted by genital and sexual contact.

Typically bacteria and viruses that cause STDs cannot live outside the body for very long. Furthermore, there hasn’t been a single study proving that fecal matter or urine on a toilet seat has caused an STD.

6) Myth: Sex in a hot tub or pool is safe because chlorine kills STDs.

This is completely false. Chlorine and hot water do not kill the bacteria and viruses that cause STDs.

7) Myth: You can’t get the same STD more than once.

If you get STDs like HIV and herpes, you’re infected for life, says the WebMD website. You can get other strains of the same virus if you continue having unprotected sex. Once you’ve had chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis — even if you’ve been treated and cured — you are always vulnerable to those STDs.

8) Myth: Your body will rid itself of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea may both be curable, but they will not go away on their own. Cosmopolitan encourages people to remember that, if left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause fertility problems and scar your fallopian tubes.

These STD myths are some of the most common, but they are by no means the only ones out there. It’s important to consult reputable sources, such as healthcare professionals and this site. The most powerful way to educate yourself about STDs is to get tested and know your own status.