Doc Q: 5 Myths about STIs that doctors see every day


stis

Chlamydia, gonorrhoea & syphilis. Oh my! These sneaky little buggers are all around town and if you’re getting down & dirty, there’s a good chance you might be meeting one soon. There are a lot of myths out there about STIs so let’s break down some of the most common ones that we doctors see every day.

Dr Rhys Young is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and has a special interest in LGBTQ+ individual & family health. He believes in the importance of good sexual health, STI screening & prevention, including PrEP prescribing.

Myth #1: You can’t have an STI if you don’t have any symptoms

These sneaky bugs are often hanging around but not causing any symptoms. It’s pretty common for when I tell someone they’ve got chlamydia or gonorrhoea for the reaction to be, “What? But, I don’t have any symptoms!” That’s exactly why it’s important to get tested. It’s not possible to tell if you or someone else has an STI or not without checking. This also means you can still pass infections on to others completely unaware. Nobody wants to be that person, am I right? The only way to know is to get tested.

Myth #2: You don’t need condoms when you’re on PrEP

I love PrEP. I talk about it all the time. It’s done a lot in the world of HIV prevention. It has probably done the opposite for chlamydia, gonorrhoea & syphilis prevention though. When you’re going into battle, wearing a helmet is still your best way at preventing those other STIs. So if someone tells you that they don’t need to wear a condom because they’re on PrEP or got tested recently, feel free to grab this article and educate them!

Myth #3: You don’t need STI screening if you only have oral sex

STI’s don’t really care which hole you’re sliding things into or how you’re sliding them in. They’re pretty woke like that. You can catch STIs from having any type of sex. Whether it’s with your genitals, but also anal sex, oral sex, using your hands, intimate skin contact and sharing toys. You can even spread gonorrhoea by kissing! This isn’t something to be scared of, just another reason to get checked.

Myth #4: If you don’t have sex with a lot of people, you don’t need STI screening

If you’re having sex with more than one person, you should get STI screening. I don’t care if it’s a new person every night or a once-in-a-while type thing; STIs don’t care either! Don’t think about it too hard: have an STI check regularly, at least once a year or more often if you’ve had unprotected sex. If you’ve got a few people on the go at once, you should get tested every 3 months.

Myth #5: An STI is something to be ashamed of

No. Stop it. Please never feel ashamed for having an STI, and never ever shame someone for having one either. STIs are naughty little bugs, just like the common cold. Getting an STI means you’re getting laid, so high-fives to you. Getting an STI has nothing to do with how clean you are, nor is it a reflection on your behaviour. The most important thing you can do is get tested regularly and talk to your partners about STIs and safer sex. Why not send them this article to help!

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