There are endless amounts of myths about our sexual health that are completely wrong. We all have to admit that we are extremely worried when it comes down to things like this and we work ourselves up when we are unsure what’s going on.
But, here are 19 myths dissolved!
1. It isn’t safer to double up and use two condoms
This is a common myth that people tend to believe. There is the false knowledge that two condoms are better than one. But, this couldn’t be more inaccurate. Two condoms are more likely to break due to the friction of them rubbing together. Only use one at a time and trust them to do their jobs!
2. The cold sore virus CAN spread to your genitals
Cold sores around your mouth are caused by a certain virus called HSV-1, but it is actually HSV-2 that is the most common and usually most associated with genital herpes. But, the thing that people aren’t aware of is that there are some cases of genital herpes are caused by the same virus as cold sores. This means, you shouldn’t give oral sex when you have a cold sore.
3. Most STIs do not go away on their own
Despite popular belief, STIs do not just go away on their own. You believe that if you just leave them be, then they will go away on their own. Your immune system isn’t powerful enough to take on chlamydia all on it’s own, this is why we need antibiotics to help defeat the infection. If your symptoms go away, that doesn’t mean that the infection has.
4. Syphilis isn’t an illness from the olden days, it is still an extremely current problem
Syphilis is known for causing sores, vision problems, lesions and death when left untreated. People feel like it is quite a dated for of STI, but according to a publication by the British Medical Journal the amount of people who have been newly diagnosed with this has almost doubled between 2012 and 2016.
5. It can also be fatal if it is left untreated
It is extremely rare for syphilis to get to such a severe case. But, if left untreated it can stay in your body and get to the final stages which lead to death.
6. Oral sex can lead to an STI
Things like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes are all things that can be passed on orally. If you have a new partner, then it is best to use protection before you do this.
7. Whilst condoms are great, they do not protect you from all STIs
Sadly, you can’t be protected from everything all the time. Crabs, herpes, HPV and syphilis are all STIs that you cannot be protected from by using a condom. These things spread by skin to skin contact. Also, condoms fail sometimes which means you can still come into contact with bodily fluids.
8. Shaving your pubes off doesn’t get rid of crabs
Crabs can live anywhere on your body where you have hair. This means even if you shaved downstairs they can relocate to anywhere else. You need to treat them properly with cream, lotion or shampoo from the pharmacy or from your local GP.
9. Don’t be fooled, these guys are harmful, so beware
It is very common that if these are left untreated, it is likely that you will have some skin infections. You can also end up with infected blisters down there if you leave it untreated.
10. You can catch some STIs from hand jobs or fingering
This is extremely uncommon, but you need to be aware of this fact. Trichomoniasis is something that is caused by a tiny parasite ‘trichomonas vaginalis’. This can be transmitted through hand-to-genital contact or by sharing sex toys that haven’t been cleaned inbetween uses.
11. You can get STIs from dry humping and grinding too
If you’re both naked and grinding then there are some STIs you need to be aware about because some can spread through skin to skin contact.
12. You cannot catch STIs from handshakes and hugging
General day to day things cannot spread STIs. Whether that’s sharing a mug or going to the toilet in a public space…
13. Be aware that it is possible to contract HIV from a tattoo gun
When you get a tattoo there is a needle that injects ink into your skin. Any licensed tattoo artist or shop follows strict procedures to stop any infections spreading from client to client. However, amateurs who host tattoo parties or people with home tattooing kits can spread blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. This is something you need to be extremely aware of.
14. HIV is NOT a death sentence anymore and isn’t anything to be ashamed of
If HIV is treated properly, it can be manageable throughout your life. Although it is a life-long disease, it can be managed. Certain types of medication can actually help the levels of HIV in your system to be reduced dramatically making it impossible for it to be passed on to someone else.
15. The HPV vaccine is worth having, even if it doesn’t protect you from every single form of HPV
The HPV virus (human papilloma virus) is the source of the majority of cervical cancers. The vaccination protects you against 70% of cancer-causing HPV infections. Even if you have had the vaccine it is paramount that you attend regular smear tests to make sure.
16. If you are diagnosed with HPV it isn’t something to panic about. You will not get cervical cancer from this.
99.7% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that everyone who get HPV will then go on to develop cancer. The majority of HPV types aren’t high risk and there are over 100 types of HPV. This just reinforces that fact that you should be attending your smear tests on a regular basis.
17. People think they have heard of every single STI… they are wrong
We have all heard of plenty of STIs, haven’t we? However, unless you are a professional then it is extremely unlikely that you have heard of every single type of STI. There are a lot of lesser known STIs that are still quite common. For example molluscum contagiosum which means you have wart-like growths on your genital areas or cytomegalovirus. If you are unsure about anything, then you need to go to the doctors instead of turning to the internet to self diagnose yourself after weighing up your different symptoms.
18. There is still a chance that you can get yourself pregnant whilst you are on the pill
This isn’t the news that any of us want to hear. But, we can’t always be reliant on he pill. These birth control pills are 99% effective if you use them correctly (same time every single day). But, if you weigh up how women actually take their pill they probably come to about 91% effective as people start taking them at different times every single day. If you have a new partner, you need to use condoms as well as the pill to avoid transmitting any STIs.
19. You can get pregnant whilst you’re on your period
Sperm can survive inside you for about five whole days, which means there is still the risk of getting pregnant whilst you are on your period. If you have sex during the end of your period and ovulate early then you can still run the risk of getting pregnant. It isn’t that likely but there is still the possibility. So make sure you wrap it up to prevent this happening!