Blog post by Remy F.
STD MYTH: I can’t catch an STD from having oral or anal sex.
Almost all STDs that can be passed on through unprotected vaginal sex can also be passed on through unprotected oral and anal sex. This includes Gonorrhea, Herpes, Genital Warts (caused by HPV), Hepatitis B, Chlamydia, Syphilis, and HIV. It is generally less risky to catch an STD from oral sex compared to vaginal or anal sex, but the risk is still there, so be sure to wear a latex condom each and every time and get tested with your partner. A dental dam can also be used if you are having oral sex and concerned about getting an STD. If you don’t like the taste of latex, remember that many condoms now come in different flavors!
STD MYTH: You can’t get an STD if you only have sex once.
You can get an STD anytime that you engage in sexual activity. Unlike pregnancy, it is possible to get an STD from any type of sexual intercourse including anal and oral, not just vaginal intercourse. In fact, if you have sex with a partner who has Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Syphilis, you have a 30% chance you will get the infection!
STD MYTH: You can get an STD from a toilet seat.
While we’re on the topic of potential encounters with STDs, the toilet seat is not one of them. This myth seems to show up in a number of places, but the real truth is: the organisms that cause STDs can’t survive outside of the body for very long. Instead of spending time worrying about the toilet seat, spend your time talking with your partner about what you are comfortable with and about using condoms to help prevent STDs.
STD MYTH: You can get the same STD only once.
For viral STDs like HIV and herpes, once you’re infected you’re infected for life with that strain of the virus. However, you can still get infected with a different strain of the same virus if you continue to have unprotected sex. This is especially important when we think of HPV—some strains are much more dangerous than others. It’s very important to know that once you’ve been treated and cured for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Syphilis, it is possible to get these diseases again. In young girls especially, each infection with Chlamydia increases the damage to the reproductive tract and the chances of not being able to have a safe and healthy pregnancy in later life so safe sex practices are a must!
Viral STDs- Herpes, HPV, HIV and Hepatitis B- are harder to treat and while antiviral medications can make living with these diseases possible, antivirals do not cure infection.
STD MYTH: If I get an STD, there is nothing I can do about it.
There is always something that you can do. While not all STDs have a cure, many do, and your health and safety are always improved if you discover and treat STDs as soon as possible! The best way to never have to worry about an STD is to always use protection! If you're worried about your status or the status of your partner, GYT: Get Yourself Tested!, communicate with your partner about safe sex practices, or abstain from sex altogether. Whatever you choose, always communicate with your partner and do what is best for you. Check out this video created by one of our Peer Educators on why you should GYT!