Myths About Safe Sex and STDs
In the world of fake news and insufficient education around safe sex, there is a wide array of myths circulating about how STDs can and cannot be transmitted. These myths are often perpetuated by young and undereducated individuals. STDAware is working to provide no-cost educational resources such as this blog to contribute to better STDAware-ness in the general public.
Read on to learn what myths might be floating around in your communities. Help us increase the spread of knowledge and education and decrease the spread of STDs!
MYTH: Oral Sex Isn’t “Really” Sex So You Can’t Get An STD
FACT: Oral sex is, in fact, a form of sex. And it carries a high risk of STD infection. With the popularity of oral sex on the rise, in the United States, the instances of STDs being spread through oral sex is very high. Any form of unprotected sex is a risk of contracting an STD, including oral sex. While the use of a condom or a dental dam significantly decreases the risk of transmitting or contracting an STD, nothing (other than abstinence) is 100% effective. One of the best defenses against the spread of STDs is to get tested before having sex with a new partner.
STDAware offers no-cost medical consultations for anyone who tests positive for having an STD. Click here to learn more about the consultation and treatment options offered by STDAware.
MYTH: You Can Use A Condom More Than Once
FACT: Condoms should NEVER be used more than once! Appropriately dispose of any condom that has been used or broken. Condoms are inexpensive, often free at certain service centers, and readily accessible. The excuse that you are doing the environment a favor by reusing does not excuse poor sex habits. Condoms are specifically designed for one-time use. Their purpose is to prevent the transmission of STDs, but they are ineffective when misused or re-used. Washing a condom can weaken the material of the condom and allow STDs to pass the barrier.
Click here to read the no-cost resource about proper condom use provided by STDAware.
MYTH: Having Sex In A Pool Or Hot Tub Without A Condom Is Okay Because The Heat And Chlorine Will Kill Off Any STD Viruses or Bacteria
FACT: While chlorine can ensure that the survivability of an STD virus in the water of a hot tub or pool is low enough so that you cannot contract an STD from being in the water itself, it will not “kill” a bacteria or virus during the act of sex while in the water. Both protected and unprotected sex, in a pool or hot tub, have a risk of STD transmission and contraction. Even though condoms are designed to reduce the risk of STD transmission, the heat of a hot tub and the chemical nature of chlorine can INCREASE the risk of STD transmission by weakening the material of the condom and diluting any spermicide that is on the condom itself.
If you recently have had sex in a pool or a hot tub with someone whose medical and sexual history are unknown to you, it is advisable to get tested for STDs as soon as possible. STDAware offers individual and full panel testing options for optimal peace of mind.
MYTH: Two Condoms Are Better Than One
FACT: Using two condoms, in fact, increases the likelihood of a condom breaking. Wearing two male condoms on top of each other or using a male condom and a female condom at the same time during sex will cause the condoms to rub up against each other and create unwanted friction. Increased friction can cause a condom to rip or break. Doctors, health experts, nurses and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, all agree that one condom is all you need for safer sex.
Click here to read the no-cost resource on “What To Do If A Condom Breaks,” provided by STDAware.
MYTH: If You Urinate After Sex You Won’t Get An STD.
FACT: The idea that urination will “flush” the area of any virus or bacteria is anatomically impossible for women and biologically/chemically impossible in both men and women. The urethra is what is responsible for carrying urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In women, the urethra is only 2 inches long and does not run inside of the vagina itself, although urine may end up around the opening of the vagina as it exits the female body and may feel as if it is coming “out” of the vagina. In men, the urethra does run the length of the penis and also transports semen from the body. However, the biological and chemical makeup of urine itself does not have any properties that would allow it to “sterilize” the area of any pathogens. Additionally, many STDs are spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected area or mucous membrane, and because sexual acts do not always involve penetration or contact with the urethra, urination or washing after sex cannot prevent the transmission of an STD.
The only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested.
Myth: Birth Control Prevents STDs
FACT: Birth control such as an oral hormonal contraceptive (birth control pill, the morning after pill), injection, implant (IUD), prosthesis (diaphragm) or suppository(sponge, spermicide cream) safeguards against pregnancy and ONLY pregnancy. Any of the forms of birth control methods previously mentioned do not possess any ability to prevent the transmission or contraction of an STD infection.
To Reiterate: Birth Control has ZERO ability to prevent an STD infection.
STDs can be spread through any sexual contact that involves skin-to-skin contact of infected skin or mucous membrane (vagina, labia, penis, urogenital, rectum, anus, mouth, throat or eyes) or the exchange of infected bodily fluids (semen, vaginal or anal discharge/mucous, saliva, and blood). If you have been using the pill thinking that you have been protecting yourself from STDs, it is highly recommended that you are tested as quickly as possible
With over 4,000 state of the art testing facilities, nationwide, STDAware makes testing quick, easy and accessible. Click here to learn more about the full panel and individual testing options offered by STDAware.
MYTH: You Can Get An STD From A Toilet Seat Or Shared Clothing
FACT: The chances of contracting an STD from a toilet seat are improbable but not entirely impossible. The bacteria associated with STDs do not survive long on surfaces or clothing. STDs are typically spread from one person to another when there is skin-to-skin contact with an infected body part or mucous membrane (such as the genitals, anus, rectum, mouth, throat, or eyes) or contact with an infected bodily fluid (semen, vaginal fluid, blood, saliva). This type of contact or exchange of bodily fluids occurs during unprotected vaginal, anal, manual, and oral sex or shared sex toys. Most bacteria can only survive for a short period of time on a surface like a toilet seat. The risk of transmitting or contracting an STD through shared bed linens, clothing, towels, toilet seats, is typically very low.
However, even though nonsexual transmission of STDs is rare, it is not impossible. Materials heavily soaked by infected sexual discharges, such as vaginal fluid, semen or saliva, can transmit the infection to other people should they come into contact with vulnerable skin or mucous membranes.
Proper hygiene is the best form of action against contracting STDs in a non-sexual way. Wash hands frequently (especially after touching the genitalia of another person and after using the restroom), wash and clean sex toys after each use, wash clothing and sheets regularly and especially after being soiled with any bodily fluids.
If you suspect that one of your mucous membranes may have come into contact with infected fluids that were on a toilet seat or piece of clothing, it is prudent to get tested as quickly as possible.
STDAware offers full panel and individual testing options. Put your mind to ease and get answers within 1-2 days!
MYTH: You can get HIV from getting a tattoo or body piercing
FACT: Even though there are not any known cases of HIV transmission from someone getting a tattoo or body piercing, it is possible. If a tattoo or piercing needle has HIV infected blood on it when used on someone, there is a risk of transmitting the virus. However, any reputable tattoo or piercing parlor will properly sanitize or use entirely new needles for each client. Still, it is always recommended to do your research on the studio and artist before getting a tattoo or body piercing and ensure that they are properly licensed and have a policy for using new or sterilized needles, ink, and other supplies.
Myth: You Can Get HIV From A Mosquito Bite
FACT: Anti-Deet advocates, rejoice! There is one less thing to worry about when enjoying the great outdoors. There have been numerous studies, including some performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which show that HIV is not transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks or any other insects. HIV is transmitted only through specific activities, such as sexual behaviors, needles, syringes, or during pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding. Venture outside knowing that mosquito bites are just an annoyance but not at STD hazard.
More Truths From STDAware
When it comes to sexual health, don’t play truth or dare! No one should have to live with the agony of an STD infection. Here, at STDAware, we strive to provide the best testing services and no-cost educational resources in the industry. We believe that with better testing practices, education, awareness and support, we can enter a world with less disease, less medical stigma around proper testing, more safety in our sexual practices, and increased quality of life.
Your privacy is important to us. That’s why your information and test results are 100% confidential and protected. STDAware is here to take the worry out of the process so you can get back to your life.