The world’s facing a more alarming situation than ever before when it comes to the number of new STD cases. And while these conditions are affecting alarmingly large portions of the population, there are still many misconceptions that remain popular.
Can you get an STD from a swimming pool? Can you get a sexually transmitted infection by using a public restroom? If you’ve wondered about the answers, you’re not alone. Here is some factual information on these inquiries, as well as a few additional bits that can help you protect your health better.
Can You Get an STD from a Swimming Pool?
You’ve probably come across urban legends that claim one person or another has contracted gonorrhoea, chlamydia or something else in a shared swimming pool.
The short answer to this question is that such infections are probably attributed to something else as you can’t contract an STD from a swimming pool or a hot tub.
For a start, the viruses and bacteria causing STDs can survive very short periods of time outside the body. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), for example, loses all of its ability to infect in a few hours after leaving a host. For the bacterium causing gonorrhoea, the survival time is only a few seconds.
Additionally, swimming pools and hot tubs are treated with disinfectants like chlorine. The aim of these disinfectants is to kill harmful microorganisms, which reduces survival rates even further.
This doesn’t mean you can have unprotected sex in a pool or a hot tub because the chlorine will kill STD-causing agents. Direct contact with infected bodily fluids poses a danger, no matter where intercourse takes place. Using protection like condoms is always the smartest thing to do.
To sum things up – as long as you’re visiting a swimming pool that’s properly treated and cleaned, you’re not likely to get an STD. Proper hygiene is very important (and not just in terms of STDs – it’s possible to get other kinds of infections from a swimming pool), so choose your venues wisely!
How about a Public Restroom?
The toilet seat myth is as common and stubborn as the one about STDs.
The short answer is once again – no. Here are the reasons why sexually transmitted infections aren’t considered a health problem as far as public restrooms are concerned.
As already mentioned, both viruses and bacteria begin losing their power to infect the moment they leave the body. The surfaces in a restroom don’t really provide favourable conditions to expand the lifespan of the disease-causing agents.
Additionally, public restrooms are cleaned according to a schedule. Harsh disinfectants will be employed to kill any sort of pathogen, not just the microorganisms causing STDs.
Even if you go to the restroom immediately after someone who has an STD, there’s still a very low infection risk.
In order to enter the body, STD-causing bacteria and viruses need an open wound. So, unless there’s a cut on the body parts that come in contact with bathroom surfaces, there really is nothing to worry about.
If you still need some reassurance, you can find various studies confirming the fact. Clinical trials suggest that both urine and fecal matter do not pose an infection risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
Can You Get STDs from Casual Contact, Sharing Food and Drinks
The stigma connected to STDs prevents many people from enjoying casual contact with those who have a certain condition. Because of that stigma, it’s still a common belief you can get an STD from hugging, sharing some food or a beverage with an infected individual.
All of these activities are perfectly fine and there’s no risk for you.
Hepatitis A is the only sexually transmitted infection that can be spread via food and beverages. All other conditions can’t be contracted through this kind of sharing. Because Hep A is spread through faecal matter, it can potentially end up in food that isn’t cleaned well or that’s been touched by someone whose hands aren’t properly cleaned.
While theoretically it is possible for herpes to be spread through skin-to-skin contact, it’s killed very quickly once exposed to air. In fact, the virus needs only 10 seconds in the open air to be destroyed completely.
Most commonly, herpes can be contracted from a sore that leaks infected fluids. As you can see, many conditions have to be in place for an infection to occur.
If you’re worried about any kind of infection, refrain from sharing glasses, utensils and meals with others. This is the most hygienic choice and it will give you peace of mind.
Do Mosquitoes Spread STDs?
Here’s one final question that we need to discuss because it’s so common that a Google search suggestion exists for it.
The rationale behind this one is easy to understand. Mosquitoes suck blood. If they’ve bitten an infected individual, they could potentially spread a disease to someone else. Or could they?
Mosquitoes can indeed spread conditions like dengue fever and malaria. When it comes to sexually transmitted infections, however, there’s no risk.
One of the biggest concerns is HIV. The human immunodeficiency virus needs to find a T-cell (a part of the human immune system) in the host’s body to begin replicating. Mosquitoes don’t have T-cells, which means that HIV contained in a blood sample the mosquito ha ingested will die.
When a mosquito bites its host, it injects saliva and not blood. This is another reason why no STDs can be spread by these insects.
Get Tested, Get Educated
Getting regular STD testing is the best way to know your status and protect yourself. This is especially important if you’re sexually active. If you’re in a committed monogamous relationship, you can get tested once or twice per year. Those who engage in risky behaviour (casual sex with multiple partners, unprotected sex) should get tested every few months.
Health facilities like Shim Clinic make screening easy and readily available.
At Shim Clinic, you can also have some of your most common questions about sexually transmitted infections answered by professionals.
To find out more, contact Shim Clinic or visit our facility during working hours every day of the week.