You can tell someone has an STI by looking at them.
People especially think this is true when it comes to HIV and there is this a misguided idea that someone with HIV will always look frail and sick as opposed to being at a healthy weight and well-kept. You can’t tell if someone has an STI by their looks and thanks to new and improved medication, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives without it ever progressing to AIDS, a syndrome that leaves people open to life-threatening infections.
This myth also applies more specifically to people’s genitals. Some people have a “quick check” of a new partner’s genitals to make sure everything looks “normal” before having sex. Outside of an active outbreak of herpes or genital warts, the majority of the time you wont see any visual evidence of an STI. But if someone has it, they can still transmit it.
Worth knowing: There are lots of causes of genital bumps, so if someone has one, it doesn’t automatically mean they have an STI.
STIs always cause symptoms which you can see.
Contrary to popular opinion, many STIs aren’t likely to cause symptoms. If they do, they’re often symptoms like itching that can be chalked up to some other kind of infection, like a yeast infection.
A lot of STIs are asymptomatic or the symptoms are so mild, you wouldn’t necessarily know they’re STIs. For example, most people with vaginas who get chlamydia or gonorrhea won’t experience any symptoms.
As long as you’re using a condom, you can’t get an STI.
Yes, when used properly, condoms can offer excellent protection against many sexually transmitted infections. But they’re not a sure thing. If you’re using animal-skin condoms, the pores on those are large enough for small STI-causing particles to get through.
Even if you use latex or polyurethane condoms, which do offer STI protection, herpes and HPV can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, so condoms don’t fully protect against them.
If your partner tells you they’ve been checked for STIs, you can immediately leave the condoms.
Most people don’t wear condoms for more than a month with a new partner and hearing that your partner has been checked for STIs can feel like the permission you wanted to forget the condoms.
But there are a few problems in this plan…
First of all, sometimes people lie, call us cynical.
The other issue is that if you’re having sex with a person with a penis, unless they have visible genital warts, there’s no way to know if they have HPV, because people with penises don’t get tested for it. That means even if they do get tested for all other STIs and don’t have them, they could still pass HPV along to you. HPV can cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and other cancers in women, as well as common and genital warts.
So please wear a condom – no matter how much he moans he would rather have protected sex than no sex! – or use protection. If you’re not going to do that, stay on top of your health in other ways which means getting the HPV vaccine (no matter your age) and getting regular STI testing, especially between partners.
STIs are only a concern during penis-in-vagina intercourse.
Anywhere there’s a moist environment, an STI can be transmitted, conditions like anal chlamydia and HPV-related oral cancers as examples.
You can absolutely get an STI from oral and anal sex and should protect yourself with condoms and dental dams accordingly.
A condom is only necessary when a person is about to ejaculate.
This misconception is rooted in the idea that pregnancy prevention is the only issue. Sure if you don’t want to have a baby take advantage of condoms’ pregnancy preventing ways. But using them throughout the entire act is the only way to get maximum STI protection, too.
Of course, same-sex couples who don’t have to worry about pregnancy are still vulnerable to STIs, meaning protection is a good thing to have all around.
Having your period offers extra protection against STIs.
Many people think you can’t get pregnant while you’re on your period, this is a lie and also having sex while you bleed also offers protection against STIs. You can, in fact, contract one while menstruating.
Also getting an STI during your period could actually make it more harmful.
If you contract an STI during your period, the cervix is open a bit, which increases the risk for pelvic inflammatory disease – a condition that happens when bacteria from an STI travels from the vagina to reproductive organs -which can lead to infertility if left untreated.
Showering or douching after sex will prevent STIs.
While showering is great and very necessary, it can’t get rid of an STI if you have one. Neither can douching—and this practice can throw off the bacterial balance in the vagina, leading to annoying infections like bacterial vaginosis. Plus, if you douche while you have an STI, the pressure can push bacteria up higher into areas like your uterus and fallopian tubes, increasing your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.
If you get an STI, it means you’re “dirty.”
This is a commonly thought lie which steams from the negative attitude of Men judging women who enjoy and have sex. If you are sexually active as a woman this can frequently be looked upon as negative. STIs cross every sexual, socioeconomic, educational, racial, religious, and ethnic barrier—getting one doesn’t say anything bad about you.
Luckily, many STIs are treatable. But even if you end up contracting one that isn’t, remember that other people in your shoes continue to live full, happy lives.
Article by By Zahra Barnes from SELF
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