Did you know there are at least 15 fake products being sold online claiming to treat, cure or prevent STIs?
An incredible number of myths surround the delicate subject of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. According to medical professionals, STIs have a high probability of being spread from person to person through sexual contact, but there are cases when other factors can cause the infection.
The term ‘STI’ is quite broad: some infections are curable and may not cause any symptoms. However, if the infection results in altering the typical function of the body, it is then called a disease e.g. STD for “sexually transmitted disease” or VD for “venereal disease”.
White Pharmacy want to make sure that our customers are always informed and up-to-date with all factors that can affect their general wellbeing. For this reason we have put together a list of the most common STD and STI myths. We hope it will help you tell the difference between what is true and what is not when it comes to this delicate topic.
FIVE COMMON MYTHS ABOUT STIs/STDs:
1. “STIs and STDs can only be sexually transmitted”
This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. It is the general belief that sex needs to occur and fluids exchanged in order for infections to be passed, because they are called ‘sexually transmitted’.
It is certainly true that you are at higher risk if you have, or have had, more than one sexual partner. You also run the risk of becoming infected if you have sex with someone who has had many partners or if you don’t use a condom when having sex.
However, for some STIs, no penetration is needed. Germs hide in semen, blood, vaginal secretions and also sometimes in saliva. Some, such as those that cause genital herpes and genital warts, may spread through skin contact. You can even get hepatitis B by sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors, with someone who has the disease.
You can also be infected with Trichomoniasis (‘trich’) through contact with damp objects such as towels, wet clothing or toilet seats, although it is most commonly spread by sexual contact. STIs can also be spread if you have shared needles when injecting intravenous drugs.
2. “You cannot be cured from an STI/STD”
No, you are not doomed! There are different types of STIs – bacterial, viral and parasitic. Bacterial and parasitic infections can be cured. Viral infections can be treated, but not completely cured.
Bacterial STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Viral STIs/STDs include HIV, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV) – of which there are many types – and hepatitis B. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.
3. “People only get STIs/STDs through same-gender sex”
There used to be a widespread belief in the 1980s and 90s that these infections only affected homosexuals. However, all these types of infections can occur regardless of whom you choose to have sex with.
4. “STI/STD symptoms can be easily spotted”
Knowing as much as possible about STDs and STIs is one of the best ways to keep you healthy. If you are a teenager, it may be helpful to get information from an adult such as a parent, school nurse or teacher.
Sometimes people with STIs do not have any symptoms. If you are not routinely getting tested, you won’t know your status. You could be unknowingly passing it onto other partners or the infection could be doing some significant harm to your body. Some of the best tools for prevention and early detection are:
• Communicating with your sexual partners about their STI status
• Routine testing
• Safer sex practices
5. “Self-diagnosis is not dangerous”
If you have an STI or STD, you should really seek professional medical advice. There are at least 15 fake products being sold online claiming to treat, cure or prevent STDs. While their websites look official and medically informative, you should not trust them. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA states that none of these products have been shown to treat any disease and they may have untested ingredients that could cause harm. Effective treatments for sexually transmitted diseases are only available by prescription from a certified health professional. Keep an eye out for products with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) logo. If you click on it you can confirm that the website you’re on is legitimate. Feel free to test it on the White Pharmacy website!