STD Awareness Month
Did you know that sexually transmitted infections are the highest they have ever been in our nation’s history? This still seems shocking given how far we have come and how much we know when it comes to sexual education. So why are our rates so high? If we knew that answer, the solution would be easy. However, what we do know is that 1 in 2 sexually active persons will contract an STI by the age of 25 and that even though the young people ages 15-24 account for over half of new STI cases, only about 12% were tested in the last year. Now, we are not here to throw a bunch of numbers at you and expect it to fix the situation, so instead, let’s look at some of the common MYTHS that are preventing individuals from getting tested or preventing transmissions:
MYTH: If you don’t have symptoms, you do not need to get tested.
SUPER false! You could absolutely have an STD and not be showing symptoms. It is actually more common to have NO symptoms than to be showing symptoms- especially from infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Women are even more likely than men to not show any symptoms.
MYTH: You can tell if someone has an STD just by looking at them.
NOPE. This is not The Scarlet Letter and no one has ‘STD’ woven into their clothing. As we just stated, someone may not even know they have an STD, let alone being able to tell by looking at them. I know what you’re thinking, so then how will we know if someone has an STD? The answer to that is simple: COMMUNICATION. Talk with your partner(s).
MYTH: Only promiscuous people get STDs
Wrong again! STDs do not discriminate. Anyone and everyone are susceptible to contracting them. Whether someone has sex with one person or multiple people, there is a chance to contract an STD. Certain behaviors might have higher risks associated with them but the bottom line is, anyone can get an STD.
MYTH: You can get an STD from a toilet seat.
No. Just no. STDs can only be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex from the exchanging of genital fluids or through skin-to-skin contact. Unfortunately this myth has been perpetuated over time but luckily, we are here to debunk that. We should repeat it one more time for the people in the back. You CANNOT get an STI from toilet seats!
So where do we go from here? The only suggestion we have to that question is to simply ask questions, learn more, and be in control. The more you know, the more you are able to make informed decisions about YOUR personal life. A saying that will never fade; “knowledge is power.” Never stop seeking information. You can utilize our Resources page or ‘Ask an Educator’ that will anonymously go directly to our health education staff that would be more than happy to answer any questions. In addition, our clinic staff is always committed to empowering and educating our clients to make for a healthier community.