Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Shuvani Sanyal, MD
It’s STD Awareness Month!
As such, we’re implementing The STI Project’s month-long myth busting series: So True, So False! Yeah, we think we’re as cool as E! Promoting awareness, education, and acceptance doesn’t always have to be super-serious.
Really, though, these myths often perpetuate big problems, because they keep people from getting tested, talking to partners, practicing safer-sex, and all around being conscientious about their sexual health. So, this is kinda serious stuff too!
For our ‘So True, So False’ series, we’re doing the research and debunking some of the common myths we hear all of the time about STDs, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
You’ll Know if You or Someone You Know Has an STD
It’d be great if you could tell who had an STI and who didn’t, wouldn’t it?
The simple truth is, you just can’t tell.
STIs are not partial to specific kinds of people and their symptoms are equally as varied – if they are present at all. That’s why there are a large number of people who are actually entirely unaware they have an STI.
E-gads! What do you mean people DON’T KNOW?
All STIs can be asymptomatic (exhibiting no symptoms) and often are, or they display such mild symptoms they go unnoticed or are mistaken for something else.
That’s why they say the most common symptom of all STIs is actually no symptom at all. For that reason, as many as 80% of people with sexually transmitted infections are unaware they have one.
Well, then who cares if you don’t have sores or visible symptoms, right?
Trouble is, when STIs are asymptomatic or exhibiting little to no symptoms, they are still transmittable to others, and there’s no guarantee the STI will remain asymptomatic for someone else.
Can’t you tell by how someone looks?
Contrary to popular belief, things like appearance and cleanliness are not indicators of infection – outside any obvious visible symptoms when/if they’re present (be careful with those assumptions, though). Sure, if you or a person you’re seeing has visible symptoms, it could be an STI. But it could also be one of the common genital variations frequently mistaken for an STI.
In short, if you see something, it may or may not be an STI, and even if you don’t see something or you think a person is ‘safe’ or ‘clean,’ they could just as easily have an STI as the next person.
You simply cannot tell by looking at someone.
The only effective way to prevent contracting an STI is to practice preventative efforts.
Deciphering your safety based upon looks, who you’ve heard someone has been with, how they act, or simple hygiene won’t work. Trust me on this one, folks – I’ve definitely learned this lesson the hard way!
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Have you heard this before? How did you learn about this myth and what was your opinion before reading this post? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!