Growing up is tough enough without having to distinguish between truth and myth when it comes to important things like sex. You may have heard friends telling you things or read stuff online that you’re just not sure is factually correct. Here we debunk some of the most common myths surrounding sexually transmitted diseases, so you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to stay safe and healthy:
- If you catch an STI, antibiotics will easily get rid of it
It is the case that any infection caused by bacteria will normally respond well to antibiotics. However, some infections have no symptoms for a long time meaning you could be experiencing damage to your body and health without knowing it for a long time. By the time you have those antibiotics, the damage is already done. Practising safe sex is a much better answer rather than relying on medication to fix you once it’s too late. Antibiotics provide no defence against viral infections such as herpes and HIV.
- Having sex in a pool or hot tub kills all STIs
This is pure myth. There is no evidence that the heat of water or levels of chlorine have any ill effect on sperm or infections. Anybody concerned about the possibility of contracting an STI should use safer methods such as condoms.
- You can catch an STI from toilet seats
This urban myth just won’t go away, it’s been doing the rounds for years! The organisms that make up these infections can’t survive long outside the body, so toilet seats pose no danger. There is a slim possibility of spreading gonorrhoea by sharing towels or flannels as these bacteria can live for a few days in warm, moist places but you don’t need to avoid toilet seats.
- You can’t get an infection if you only have sex once
It only takes one act of intercourse or oral sex with an infected person to contract an infection. Statistically, one occasion with a person infected with gonorrhoea, syphilis or chlamydia gives you a 30% chance of catching the same infection. If you have any concerns, you can access Home StI kits from https://www.bexleysexualhealth.org
- You can’t catch an STI from oral or anal sex
Simply untrue. Where there is any exchange of bodily fluids, there is a risk of infection from an already infected person. In truth, skin inside our mouths and rectum are more sensitive and thinner than the skin outside our body so it’s easier to contract an infection this way. The rates of infection for vaginal, anal and oral sex are the same.
- Only ‘easy’ people get infected with STIs
All infections are equal opportunity and will affect anyone of any age, background and sexual orientation without prejudice. Anybody who is enjoying sex regularly without the correct and proper use of precaution is at risk of contracting any sexually transmitted disease. There is no way to tell who is infected and who isn’t, it’s down to the individual to be clued up, honest and if in doubt, get tested.