A person can get STIs (for example herpes or genital warts) through skin-to-skin contact with an infected sore. Here are some common myths about STIs:
- STI will not happen to me - STIs will only happen to certain kind of people. This is not true. Anyone who has had unprotected sexual contact can get STI.
- You will not be infected with STI if you only have oral sex/anal sex. That is false because bacteria or viruses that cause STIs can enter the body through small cuts in the mouth as well as the genitals. Any unprotected oral/anal sex can cause STI.
- I will know if I have STI or if someone I’m seeing has STI. This is not true. You cannot tell if someone has STI or not just by looking at them. Some STI’s show mild symptoms and some are asymptomatic, nevertheless they are still transmissible to others. For this same reason too, some people with STI are not aware they have one.
What other stories do you know about STIs? Do you know if it is a myth or a fact?
Why is it important? Having an STI can be embarrassing but that is not the only problem. If untreated, some STIs can cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs, such as the inability to have a baby (infertility) and even death.
STIs can affect boys and girls of all ages – as long as they are having unprotected sex. It is important that you learn what you can do to protect yourself from these infections.
Do you know many STIs do not have any signs or symptoms? Do you know that refraining from vaginal sex does not completely stop your risk for contracting an STI?
STIs spread easily because you can’t tell if someone has an infection. In fact, most people do not know they have them till very late. They can pass on the infection without even knowing it.