The STI truths you need to know
Living the single life has many perks. Think endless nights out with your girl squad, shamelessly sleeping in fake tan and spending obscene amounts of money on make-up because, beauty. However, being single for some of us also means having casual sex, which opens up a whole world of dilemmas! From accidentally forgetting to shave to awkward morning afters – sometimes there’s nothing sexy about casual sex. Then of course there’s worrying about STIs. The more I read up on the subject, the more I realise there are loads of myths out there about how they’re transmitted. I read recently you can get an STI from a beard, a razor or even a tanning bed and my curiosity was sparked. So I chatted to gynaecologist Dr Peter England to help clear up my concerns. Here’s what I found out:
Where can you get an STI from?
Peter debunks the STI myths I had read about, telling me that you absolutely won’t pick up an STI from a tanning bed, a beard or a razor. For an STI to be transmitted there needs to be, “body to body intimate contact”. You can get an STI from contact that does not involve penetration though. Peter explains:
- Kissing can transmit oral herpes.
- Skin to skin contact without penetration can risk transmission of herpes and genital warts.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can’t be transmitted without penetration.
- Using shared towels risks transmitting staph so it’s best not to share!
- Hepatitis B and C and HIV are commonly transmitted through vaginal and anal sex if no condom is used.
What is the most commonly contracted STI?
Peter tells us the most common STI is genital herpes which he describes as, “an annoying but not serious condition”. He goes on to reveal the most common serious STI is chlamydia, “which can, in females cause infertility”. The issue with both of these diseases is they can be extremely mild, meaning there could be little to no symptoms, “making it easy to be passed on to a sexual partner”. Eek!
How can you avoid getting an STI?
Peter puts it very plainly when we asked this question, answering, “Use a condom, use a condom and use a condom!” He also recommends getting check-ups on the reg. “Women should have regular gynae checks - not only a pap smear but also an STD screen if they have had recent casual encounters or are aware of unusual discharge or pelvic pain.” We’re completely on board with this – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Have you heard any weird myths about STIs? Do you get regular checks with your doctor?