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5 Myths About STI's That Can Hamper Healthy Intercourse Between Couples

5 Myths About STI's That Can Hamper Healthy Intercourse Between Couples

Unless we get tested regularly, we will never know if we have a sexually transmitted infection or not. Even the most comprehensive tests don't look for all the STIs.

Talking about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be a tricky area no matter how old you are or whether you have a long-term partner. However, communication is key as making sure that you are having safe intercourse is beyond using protection consistently and correctly. It is uncomfortable but important to talk about the risks before you do engage in intercourse.

For most of us, using a barrier seems to be enough but have you ever gotten tested? It might be time to check up on your sexual health by getting a test as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that reported cases of STIs are on the rise and some of them at an alarming rate. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases had gone up for the first time since 2006, according to data published by the CDC in the 2014 STD Surveillance Report.

On top of that many of us believe a few myths about STIs that can increase our chance of infection. If you want to know what those commonly believed myths are, read on:

1. Getting tested means you're safe



 

Sometimes, when people say that they have been tested and are "clean" it shouldn't always be accepted at face value. It's always great to ask more questions about it since people can provide incorrect information, according to Bedsider, a non-profit organization working on spreading awareness about sexual health. For starters, not all STIs can be tested for as some of them can't be found through tests. The most comprehensive tests usually check for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea and pap smears look for cervical abnormalities caused by high-risk types of HPV only.

2. Once you’ve had an STD/STI, there’s no chance of getting it again



 

According to Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, this is incorrect as you can get an STI more than once. Some of them stay for life, like herpes and HIV. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated and once you recover you can still get infected again due to intimate contact with someone infected. So, use condoms for your protection and get tested regularly. If you do get diagnosed with an STI, your partner should also get tested and treated.

3. You can't get STIs from oral stimulation



 

Incorrect. In fact, you can give your partner an STI and get an STI from your partner during oral stimulation, says the American Sexual Health Association. However, not all STIs can be transmitted orally, but some can. For instance, if your partner has a cold sore (oral herpes) and then performs oral stimulation on you, you can get infected with herpes in your genital area.

4. You can't get STIs when you're older

(Representational Image) Source: Getty Images | Photo by Robert Daly

This is another fallacy, as cases of chlamydia among the ages 55 to 64 have nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016, according to Harvard Medical School. "Although we don't think of them that way, older adults appear to be at increasing risk for STDs," says Dr Khady Diouf, a reproductive infectious disease specialist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. Some of the reasons for that is that they don't get STD screening and treatment, they could be dating more than one partner after a divorce or the loss of a spouse, they may not be using condoms because they think they or their partners are not at risk for STDs.

5. If your partner has an STD, you’ll see it



 

There are many STIs that have no symptoms or have only mild ones, especially in women. While for other infections, the symptoms might stop showing up in some time but it might return later, according to the Stanford Children's Hospital. So, it might be hard to know if someone, like your partner, has an STI, which is why it is important to get tested. STIs can damage your body, like infertility (the inability to have a baby) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and you can spread to other partners if you have more than one. STIs can be present without causing an outbreak even if you have no symptoms, according to Rady Children's Hospital.

Difference between STI and STD

According to Women's Health, the main difference between and sexually transmitted infection and a sexually transmitted disease is that one is symptomatic (STD) while the other (STI) is not, says Dr Angela Jones, an ob-gyn at Healthy Woman Obstetrics and Gynecology in Monmouth, NJ. “You can have an infection, such as chlamydia, without symptoms... Disease simply means that symptoms of said ailment are present and we only describe things as diseases when symptoms are present.”

References: 

https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/std-surveillance-report-press-release.html

https://www.bedsider.org/features/270-4-sti-myths-that-get-in-the-way-of-a-healthy-sex-life

https://www.rchsd.org/health-articles/5-myths-about-stds/

http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/myths-and-facts/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/sexually-transmitted-disease-at-my-age

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=what-you-need-to-know-about-stds-1-1549

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19895093/sti-vs-std/

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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