Human beings are natural story-tellers. Not having all the details won’t keep a tale from being told- that’s what we have our creativity for.
This is the genesis of the myths and misconceptions we have today. When it comes to sexual health, these have crossed from one region to another. But some are just outright lies.
Let’s take a look at some of the fibs we need to stop believing.
One look at someone and you can tell they have an STD
This is especially believed of HIV. You probably assume that an infected person with a sexually transmitted disease will look frail and sickly right? However, thanks to modern medicine, people are getting to live healthy, full lives for years, without the virus progressing into the late stage. Also, many STDs do not display any symptoms in the early stages, making it essential to take precautions like using condoms and other forms of protections like HIV PrEP before intercourse and to do frequent STD testing at an established STD clinic if you engage in high-risk sexual activities.
There are always symptoms
In reality, a lot of these infections are asymptomatic, or have such mild manifestations that you might not necessarily know you are sick. Often, the visible symptoms can be written off as other things.
For instance, itching can always be assumed to be a yeast infection. The primary stage of HIV shows itself in flu-like symptoms, which clear up in a few weeks.
Condoms are 100% full-proof
‘Want to be totally covered through and through? Use a condom!’ While barrier protection can be very effective in prevention against infection, it is not a sure thing.
The effectiveness of condoms will definitely be reduced due to improper usage, breakage, no lubrication and other factors. Some chose to go for animal-skin condoms have pores that are large enough to allow for STD-causing particles to pass through. What’s more, herpes and HIV can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, rendering condoms ineffective.
If your partner says they have been screened, believe them
People lie. Unfortunately, such a statement is often taken as a green light to chuck out the condoms. Yet without actually accompanying them to get tested, there is no way to know that they are clean.
Moreover, even with screening for other infections, men are not tested for HPV. Unless he has genital warts, you wouldn’t know he has it, if he does.
If you won’t use protection, then keep your health in check regardless. Get tested regularly together – especially before marriage!
Only penile-vaginal intercourse leads to infection
Anal sex is actually more likely to lead to the transmission of HIV than other acts. Oral sex is also a viable candidate for spreading of conditions like HPV-related oral cancers.
You should always protect yourself with condoms and dental dams.
We need a condom only when the guy is about to ejaculate
An STI is not only transmitted through semen. While this will be a concern if you want to prevent pregnancy, you will need a condom all through the session to protect against infections. Always aim to be protected at all times.
Menses provide extra protection
This is about as true as pigs flying. Periods are not a guard against any form of malignant creatures. In fact, contacting an infection during your menses could actually make it more harmful.
At that time, the cervix is more relaxed and open, increasing the risk of PID
Getting infected means you are ‘dirty’
STDs know no form of background. Contracting one does not necessarily say anything bad about you. It just means you were exposed to the bacteria or virus. If you do suspect an infection, get tested straight away, or ask for HIV PEP if you suspect an exposure within the last 72 hours!
Now you know a few beliefs that you ought to do away with. Seek the truth about STIs and it will set you free. Most importantly, stay safe, at all times.