Common STD Misconceptions
While there is more and more information out there about STDs and more education for young people, there still remains a great number of misconceptions. These misconceptions can lead to increased risk and infection. Here are five common confusions when it comes to STDs:
1. I can’t get an STD from oral sex.
STDs are not just from vaginal or anal sex. Oral sex can easily spread many STDs. In fact, you can contract things like gonorrhea and chlamydia in your throat. It is recommended that you use a condom or dental dam when having oral sex.
2. If a person looks clean, it means he/she is STD free.
Anyone can have an STD. People’s appearance is no indication of their sexual health. It is also important to remember that many STDs do not produce visible symptoms, which means you can’t tell by simply looking at someone. You should always discuss your partner’s STD status before engaging in sexual activities with him or her. Another good option is to get tested together before you start a sexual relationship.
3. I take birth control, so I’m covered.
No. Birth control will stop you from getting pregnant, but will not protect you from STDs. It is still important for you to protect yourself in other ways. Condoms, when used properly, are a great tool to protect yourself from STDs.
4. If it is my first time, I can’t get an STD.
This is not true. Remember just because it is your first time, doesn’t mean it is your partner’s first time (even if they tell you it is). It is important to use protect each time you have sex to prevent possible infection or unwanted pregnancy.
5. If I know my partners, I’m not at risk and don’t need to get tested.
Anyone can have an STD, which means even someone you know very well. It is also important to remember that many people do not know that they have an STD because they’ve not had any symptoms and haven’t gotten tested. They could be spreading it without realizing that they are.
Bottom-line: Get tested on a regular basis (every three to six months) and protect yourself.