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Seven STI Misconceptions to Clear Up

The Term “STD” Is Politically and Clinically Incorrect:
Infections that are passed via sexual contact have been around for centuries and are referred to by several terms. You may have heard a parent or grandparent referring to these infections as VD, or venereal disease; a term that gained much popularity in the Western World during World War II. Nowadays, STDs, or Sexually Transmitted Diseases, is often the collection of words used to define these conditions. However, the word “disease” encompasses a wide variety of conditions that impair bodily functions, including those, which are born within the body without the influence of pathogens. In other words, a disease is not always an infection. Illnesses of these sorts are more accurately described as Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STIs.

There Are Only Three Types of Sex:
When asked about the different types of sex that pose risks, oral, anal, and vaginal sex are often the first to be mentioned. Mutual masturbation is commonly overlooked. When partners stimulate themselves and then their partner (or vise versa), bodily fluids can still be exchanged.

Hepatitis C Is a Common STI and Easily Spread via Sexual Contact:
The truth is, Hepatitis C isn’t typically spread by sexual contact. More people in the US are HCV positive than are HIV positive, but the virus is typically spread by blood from an infected person entering the bloodstream of another. According to a 2010 article from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “10% of persons with acute HCV infection report contact with a known HCV-infected sex partner as their only risk for infection.” Factors such as HIV infection and sex-with-injury do increase the odds of contracting HCV through sex. Several credible healthcare providers, such as Planned Parenthood, don’t even list Hepatitis C as an STI.

Sex Toys Are Always a Safe Alternative To Sex:
Vibrators, dildos, anal beads, and the like can all be great additions to sex play. However, sharing toys can be risky if they aren’t cleaned off between partners. There are several quick cleaners on the market that range from wipes to sprays to prevent bodily fluid exchanges.

Oil-Based Lubricants are the same as Water Based Lubricants:
It’s true that both lubricants reduce friction during sex play. But with latex, the most commonly used material for male condoms oil-based lubricants should be avoided. The CDC recommends, “Use only water-based lubricants (e.g., K-Y Jelly, Astroglide, AquaLube, and glycerin) with latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants (e.g., petroleum jelly, shortening, mineral oil, massage oils, body lotions, and cooking oil) can weaken latex and should not be used.” When latex is weakened, condoms are more likely to break.

Male Condoms Protect Against All STIs:
Condoms have proven to be highly effective against several STIs including chlamydia, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, and HIV. But condoms do not protect all exposed areas, allowing for possible transmission of HPV, syphilis, and herpes.

The “Failure Rate” Associated with Condoms Refers Exclusively to Partners Not Using One:
Male condoms are known to be very effective in protecting the swap of bodily fluids during sex, but they do fail at times. Reluctance to use a male or female condom every time you have sex can put you at risk. Incorrect use also plays a key role in condom failure. For male condoms, they should never be used if expired or damaged. Damage to condoms can occur if the package is opened with scissors or teeth or if the condom is stored in a hot place such as a warm wallet. Pinching the unopened package and checking for an air bubble proves that the seal is intact. Condoms can also be put on inside out, fit incorrectly, or not be rolled down completely. There should be a half-inch of space at the top of the condom when it is on to avoid air bubbles, which make breakage more likely. For female condoms, if the partner is not guided in, then the condom won’t be doing anything for you.

So there you have it! Her Campus once again has given you more knowledge to help you make the best choices possible.

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