There’s so much misinformation about sexually transmitted diseases or infections, also known as STDs or STIs. So, it’s no wonder we are filled with shame, guilt, and even fear when the topic comes up. With April being STI Awareness Month, it’s time to move past the half-truths and educate yourself. Here are five STI facts that everyone should know.
STIs are SUPER Common
They are so common that one in five people can have an STI at anytime. In fact, half of the U.S. population will have one in their lifetime. And if you’re still feeling alone, know this: The CDC estimates there are over 110 million sexually transmitted infections among men and women in the U.S., with 20 million new cases each year.
You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
STIs aren’t choosy. They affect people of all classes, races, economic backgrounds, and sexual orientations. It is a random occurrence that can’t be predicted. A person with dozens of sexual partners could not contract an STI, yet another person who sleeps with just one partner could get one.
No One Will Know You Have One
You might feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter if you get an STI, but the truth is that no one can tell you have one. In fact, many people with STIs show no symptoms at all, which makes getting tested all the more important.
All STIs Are Treatable
A positive STI test does not mean the end of life as you know it. All STIs are treatable, and some are even curable. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can get treatment. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis can all be cured through various treatments. Herpes, hepatitis, and HIV can be managed with medication.
STI Tests Are Painless
Worried that the test will hurt? They won’t. STI tests are quick, painless, and straightforward. For instance, an HIV test is done with a simple cheek swab, and results are available in just 20 minutes. Others are performed via a urine or blood sample or a cervical or urethra swab. While these might be uncomfortable, they are certainly not painful. What is painful is an untreated STI.
Remember, your body is the only body you’ll ever have. You owe it to yourself to stay healthy and arm yourself with the information. Because what’s truly scary is the unknown.
Ready to get checked? Find out more at GetCheckedDC, a free program providing DC residents with confidential, convenient testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)