7 Common Myths About STDs That Should Be Addressed ASAP
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include infections and viruses that can be passed through unprotected sexual intercourse. They can lead to serious symptoms and cause severe complications. However, many people don’t consider them dangerous and spread various myths and misconceptions about STDs. This leads to the increased spread of STDs. In this article, we have gathered seven common myths about STDs that should be addressed ASAP.
1. STDs always cause obvious symptoms
One of the most common misconceptions about STDs is that they always cause symptoms and you can easily define whether your partner or you are infected. Unfortunately, many STDs can develop asymptomatically or cause mild symptoms that may be left unnoticed. The main problem is that untreated STDs can lead to severe complications like pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. That’s why it is extremely important to undergo STD testing even if you don’t have any symptoms.
2. Both barrier and hormonal contraception protect from STDs
Many people believe that all types of barrier and hormonal contraception can save them from STDs. In addition to the fact that only condoms can decrease your risk of getting STDs, even they can’t guarantee complete protection. You should understand that most contraception options are made to prevent pregnancy. However, using condoms (both male and female) is essential since they can help prevent pregnancy and STDs at the same time.
3. You can get STDs only through vaginal sex
Another common myth is that STDs can be passed only through vaginal sex and there is no need to use condoms if you have anal or oral sex. But the reality is that STDs can be passed through body fluids like lubrication, sperm, or blood. Moreover, some STDs like human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes can be transmitted even through skin-to-skin contact.
4. STDs can be left untreated
As mentioned above, STDs can lead to severe complications without timely and proper treatment. For example, untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to the development of pelvic inflammatory disease in women. This condition can cause pelvic pain, fever, abnormal vaginal discharge with a strong smell, and pain during sex. If you have these symptoms, you should visit a gynecological clinic and undergo treatment as soon as possible.
5. Once you’ve been treated, you’re immune to STDs
Some people think that if they have been successfully treated for STDs, they can’t get them again. But the reality is that it is impossible to develop an immunity to STDs. The only option available is to get a vaccine that helps prevent infection with certain strains of human papillomavirus. Moreover, your sexual partner or partners should also be diagnosed and treated since you can get infected again right after treatment.
6. All strains of HPV cause cancer
There are more than 100 strains of human papillomavirus. However, only 12 of them are deemed high-risk strains while only two of them (16th and 18th) cause the majority of HPV-related cancers. Most strains of HPV don’t cause significant damage. They mostly manifest themselves through warts on different parts of the body. HPV infections are often asymptomatic and the body clears up the infection on its own within a few years. Many people will never know they are or were infected with HPV.
7. All STDs can be easily cured
Indeed, most STDs can be easily cured with the help of antibiotics, especially if you start the treatment in the initial stages. However, some STDs like herpes and HPV can be managed but not cured. Additionally, you should know that some complications (like adhesions and infertility caused by PID) caused by untreated STDs can also be difficult or even impossible to treat.