eg. How do you approach an STD test with a new partner?

Common STD Myths

Unfortunately, because many people are hesitant to talk with their healthcare providers about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, many myths are prevalent. Here are some of the most common myths and the facts behind them.

Myth #1You can’t get an STD from oral sex

Fact: While there is little to no risk of transmitting HIV via oral sex, other STDs can be transmitted through oral sexual contact. STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes can be transmitted during oral sex. Additionally, analingus can transmit Hepatitis A and B.

Myth #2If you have an STD, you’ll know it

Fact: According to the latest reports from the CDC, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections are at the highest rate ever. This is largely because many STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, do not always present symptoms or if they do, the symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for other conditions. The only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to be tested by your healthcare provider.

Myth #3You’ll know if your partner has an STD

Fact: As mentioned above, many STDs present mild to no symptoms, so there is no way to know whether your partner has an STD unless he or she is tested by a healthcare provider. To be safe, you should both be tested for STDs.

Myth #4Only certain “types” of people get STDs

Fact: Nearly 2 million cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis were reported last year, which means no one who is sexually active is immune to the risk of acquiring an STD. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, gay, straight, or bisexual, if you are sexually active there is a chance you will acquire an STD at some point in your life.

Myth #5You can only get herpes from your partner during an outbreak

Fact: Herpes can be transmitted through skin to skin contact, even if your partner is not experiencing an outbreak. Also, like other STDs, herpes does not always present symptoms, so you or your partner may not know you are infected. The only way to know if you have a herpes infection is to be tested by a healthcare professional.

Myth #6The chlorine in a pool or hot tub can kill STDs

Fact: Chlorine does not eliminate the risk of STD infection. In fact, latex condoms are less effective when used in water. Additionally, because chlorine can irritate the skin, the risk of STD transmission can actually increase.

Myth #7If you don’t have a condom, use plastic wrap

Fact: There is no safe substitute for a condom. If you don’t have one, get one. Plastic wrap is not meant to prevent the transmission of STDs. If you have used this practice in the past, you should get checked for STDs.

Myth #8The Pill prevents STD transmission

Fact: The pill only prevents against pregnancy. It has no effect on the transmission of STDs. If you use the pill for birth control, you will need to also use a condom to protect against STD transmission.

Myth #9Only semen transmits STDs

Fact: Skin to skin contact as well as contact with other bodily fluids can transmit STDs. For instance, herpes and syphilis can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. HIV can be transmitted via contact with other bodily fluids, such as blood.

Myth #10Gonorrhea and chlamydia go away on their own

Fact: Like other bacterial infections, gonorrhea and chlamydia require treatment to be cured. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are both easily treated with antibiotics if caught early. This is why it is important to be tested for STDs regularly.

Myth #11Two condoms are better than one

Fact: Using two condoms diminishes their efficacy because condoms are not meant to be used this way. Learn how to use a condom correctly and you can greatly diminish your risk of transmitting or contracting an STD.

Back to STD Symptoms

Last updated on January 12th, 2017

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