“We have not inherited this land from our forefathers but have borrowed it from our children.” Words that should continue replaying in our heads everyday as we look at the case of STIs, including HIV, and adolescents and youth. Our country is bleeding and it’s such a shame when we see the rise in the number of STI cases amongst young people. There is a number of reasons to blame for this but today let’s focus on the myths and misconceptions of STIs.
Every day so much wrong information gets passed around about STIs that’s it’s no surprise the high rate of infection among young people. We have to get ahead of this if we want to win this war.
The most common myth is that STIs is for trashy people. This is absolutely wrong. Rich people get STIs, poor people get them, professors them, math geeks and athletes get them. Even someone having sex for the very first time can get an STI. The only people who are not at risk are those who haven’t had sex or had any kind of sexual contact.
Another myth is that if your partner has an STI you’ll see it. Fact is that there is often no sign that a person has an STI, even doctors often can’t tell just by looking. They need to do tests. It is possible to carry and spread an STI without even having an outbreak. The only sure of knowing is getting tested.
Also it is said that once you’ve had an STI, there is no chance of getting it again. This is wrong. You can always get re-infected with an STI if you have unprotected sex with an infected person.
Some people also believe that you can avoid STIs by having oral or anal sex. STIs are spread by exchange of bodily fluids. If you have oral sex with an infected person you will get an infection in your throat or mouth as with anal sex.
It is important to get the facts and to get them right. Of course the only way to be 100% sure you don’t have an STI is to not have any type of sex. To abstain. But if you do decide to have sex, you’ll need to stay informed and learn what’s true and what’s not. You can’t always tell by looking if a person has an STI. Some STIs only show up on tests. If you notice signs of an infection-like an unusual discharge-see a doctor. STIs need to be treated quickly so they don’t cause long-term effects. Be safe and always use a condom.