There are many myths and facts when it comes to women’s health and STIs. We have put together facts about STIs, birth control and STIs, and more.
Fact: People Can Still Get STIs Despite Increased Awareness
A Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is a bacterial or viral infection that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact (i.e., anal, vaginal, or oral).
More than 25 STIs have been identified, affecting 20+ million men and women in the U.S. each year.
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI, even without having penetrative sex (i.e., vaginal or anal sex). Some STIs, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact.
Many STIs don’t show symptoms for a long time. Even without the presence of symptoms, they can still be harmful and passed between partners during sex (i.e., anal, vaginal, or oral).
Fact: Oral Contraceptives (Birth Control) Cannot Prevent An STI
A common myth is that birth controls can prevent the spread of STIs. Two of the most common forms of birth controls are oral contraceptives and condoms.
Many people may not use condoms because they are using another form of birth control, and feel they are safe from STIs. ALSO READ: STD’s: Here’re 6 Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases In Nigeria
- Oral contraceptives are medications in pill form taken by mouth as birth control.
- Oral contraception is only effective in preventing pregnancy and cannot stop STIs from being passed between sexual partners.
- Condoms are a barrier method of birth control used to prevent pregnancies and the spread of STIs.
- Only one form of birth control prevents pregnancies and STIs: condoms.
Fact: Condoms Can Prevent An STI
Correctly using male and female condoms can help prevent the spread of STIs and help prevent pregnancy. Dental dams, a barrier method for oral sex, can also help prevent sexually transmitted infections when used correctly.
Most condoms and dental dams are made from latex or polyurethane, which may be preferable for individuals with a latex allergy.
Preventing HIV, HPV and Other STIs
- PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis; also known as brand names Truvada and Descovy. It’s a daily pill that can help prevent HIV. Recommended for adults 18 years and older and currently HIV negative.
- HPV vaccine can help protect against certain types of HPV that can lead to cancer or genital warts; also known as the brand Gardasil 9. The vaccine is given in a series of shots over a period of time.
- Abstinence can avoid infection by not having sex (i.e., anal, vaginal, or oral).
Antibiotics are one way to cure sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. It is important to take medication as described.
Also, abstain from sex until 7 days have passed after completing antibiotic treatment and any sores are healed.
Antiviral drugs can be prescribed if you have herpes or HIV. These can help keep infections in check, but you will still carry the virus.