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STDs: Myths and Facts

August 5, 2022

Ann Antonucci

Learn the Myths and Facts about STDs

Let’s talk about Sex. Now that I have your attention let’s get down with some real talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STD) also known as sexually transmitted infection (STI).  While the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic saw an overall decrease in STD cases in the US, especially chlamydia, rates have continued to increase since then.  In particular, there has been a spike in rates of gonorrhea and syphilis infections.  Meanwhile strains on the healthcare system, lack of insurance due to people being unemployed or underemployed, and a decrease in funding for programs that provide education about STDs and free testing in impoverished communities have led to a decrease in screening and treatment.

Organizations like the CDC are working overtime to spread awareness of STD risks and emphasize the importance of testing.  Any sexually active individual would be doing themselves and their partner a favor by getting routine STD screening and familiarizing themselves with the signs and symptoms of STIs.  There is a lot much information out there to familiarize yourself with regarding different types of STDs.  There is also a good deal of misinformation.  Have you ever read or heard something about an STD, and wondered if it was really true?  You’d be well advised not to take everything you hear at face value.  There are many common misconceptions about STDs out there.  We would like to provide some peace of mind and just lay out some of the interesting facts about STDs that everyone should know

 

Tall Tale or Naked Truth

 

Condoms prevent STD infections

Condoms are frequently the go-to for birth control.  They are easily accessible and can also provide some protection from STDs.  Condoms provide 98% protection against Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. STIs that are spread by skin-to-skin contact such as Syphilis, Herpes, and genital warts, however, cannot be prevented using a condom.  Infected areas that are not covered by the condom can still pass the infection to a partner via skin-to-skin contact. Don’t give up on the condom in any case, as they do reduce the chances of becoming infected with an STD including Mycoplasma Genitalium, Mycoplasma Hominis, HIV, Trichomonas, and Ureaplasma.

You can tell if a person has an STD by looking at them

Anyone can have an STD, and there is no way to tell if a person has an STD just by looking at them.  Many STDs including Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes, Syphilis, and Trichomonas often do not display symptoms so the infected person may not even realize it.  Making assumptions about who does or doesn’t have an STD is not an effective way to protect your health.  Getting tested and being honest with your partner when you enter a new relationship is the best way to protect both of you.

STDs will go away on their own

Testing is obviously important.  But if you test positive, taking the appropriate action is just as important.  If you do contract an STI, it’s not going to go away by itself.  Even if your symptoms go away or you had no symptoms to begin with, don’t assume you’re free and clear.  Ignoring an STD can be just as dangerous as not knowing you have one.

Chronic untreated infections can lead to complications like infertility, cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, complications with pregnancy, and some may even be fatal.  Some STDs including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Trichomonas, and Mycoplasma Genitalium are treatable and can be cured with the right medication.  Some, like Herpes or HPV, are with you for life, but may not pose any serious risks if managed appropriately.  Even HIV can be treated and managed if it’s identified early. 

Taking care of your partners is just as important as taking care of yourself.  Informing current and past partners that they should test themselves can be awkward but it’s the right thing to do.  You’d want the same courtesy in their position.

You can’t get an STD while having sex in a shower, bath, or pool

STDs are spread through vaginal, oral, anal, and intimate skin-to-skin contact.  Anytime there is sexual contact with an infected person, you are at risk.  The chlorine in the pool won’t kill the STD virus or bacteria.  The water in the shower or bath will not wash away the bodily fluids that aid in the spread of an STD infection.

Only certain types of sexual activity can spread STDs

If anyone tells you that only intercourse can spread STDs, they’re either lying or uninformed.  While other forms of sexual contact may lessen the possibility of some STDs there are always risks.   Herpes is contracted through skin-to-skin contact so oral sex can spread both herpes type 1 and 2.   Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HPV, and HIV can also be contracted from oral sex.  Even kissing can pass herpes, most commonly herpes type 1, from one person to another if they have an infection in the area around their mouth.  Many STDs are transmitted through blood and bodily fluids so any type of contact with those substances can pose a risk.  The important thing is to be informed and safe.  As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  If you have a contact you’re concerned about, don’t panic, but do get tested.

How can I get a quick STD test near me?

Request A Test is committed to making it as easy as possible for anyone to order STD testing whenever they need it.  There’s no doctor’s appointment or insurance required.  Just order the tests or tests from our menu that best suit your needs and go to the lab.  Most test results are available in just a few business days.  We offer tests for most common STDs including Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  If you’re looking for more comprehensive screening, check out some of our packages that combine multiple tests for an additional discount.

Peace of Mind

Standard STD Panel #1

Standard STD Panel #2

Standard STD Panel #3

Essential STD Panel

Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trich

Please also take note that Request A Test offers a Needle Stick Injury Protocol Blood Test and a Needle Stick Injury Protocol Viral Panel.  Healthcare workers are at a greater risk of STD infection as they are often exposed to blood and bodily fluids, accidental needlesticks, or getting a cut from a contaminated instrument. 

Spread the love…not the STD.  Be informed and get tested TODAY.


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