Some Dangerous Myths About STDs

It is a fact that infection rates for the most common sexually transmitted diseases are rising. Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis cases have been reported at levels higher than they have been since 2006. Part of the problem has been recent cuts to healthcare programs, but another reason is the persistence and spread of some dangerous myths regarding sexually transmitted disease. This is why there are efforts to counter this ignorance with awareness programs sponsored by the Center for Disease Control. Other professional medical associations, clinics and public information sources are also working to dispel the mythology surrounding STD infection.

One myth in circulation is that birth control prevents infection. While these methods may be very effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy, they will not work at all against STD infection. The belief in this myth is one reason why common STDs are spreading, particularly among teenagers and college-age youth. Even with birth control, unprotected sex leaves you vulnerable to infection.

A second, related myth is that it’s not possible to contract an infection through other forms of sex. Disease is transmitted through any exchange of bodily fluids. Even small cuts or open sores can allow infection. Oral pleasure is often a choice among younger partners who aren’t quite ready for intercourse yet or are determined to avoid pregnancy and believe this the “safe” option. Protection and testing are the only sure safeguards, but so is greater awareness and open discussion.

Pulling out before ejaculation will not safeguard against infection. To begin with, few men have that kind of self control during the heat of action. But even if a man does have that sort of control, the pre-ejaculation release of a small amount of fluid can allow transmission of infection. Either this small amount of fluid is laden with bacteria which can infect the woman or her own fluids can infect the man.

The plain fact is that unprotected sex allows infection to spread. The use of condoms and other forms of physical protection can markedly reduce the incidence of STD/STI, but so does testing and treatment. Some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases have no symptoms or ones easily mistaken for other conditions. This is why it is necessary to learn more about the subject through research and discussion. Knowledge is the first and best weapon in the fight against STDs and always will be.