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DON'T believe these sexual health myths!

Last updated on: August 2, 2011 17:17 IST

DON'T believe these sexual health myths!

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Dr Swapan Ghosh, Lifemojo.com

Note: Our intent here is to provide good and clean content on sexual health. We want to resolve all the mis-conceptions and curiosities about this subject. If you feel uncomfortable because of any article in this section, please let us know.

One major reason why sexually transmitted diseases are so prevalent is because there are many myths around that people fall for -- myths that give them the false illusion that they will not be affected in anyway. This is very untrue, because sexually transmitted diseases are highly infectious and they can bring in complications that can put marriages and relationships in jeopardy.

This is one of the main reasons why you should always opt for safe sex practices, although the alternative might seem way more exciting. Condoms can help in this regard, and maintaining only one sexual partner can also help you avoid a majority of infections and keep you healthy.

The top five myths about sexually transmitted diseases that people believe without any basis or research have been given below.

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Photographs: DON'T believe these sexual health myths!
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Myth 1. Sexually transmitted diseases cannot be transferred through oral sex

This myth actually gets people excited, because they start believing that oral sex is a loophole that they can use to their advantage in order to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Little do they realise that this myth is entirely wrong, because HIV, HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Hepatitis can all be transmitted orally.

These diseases can be transferred through any form of sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral means. Indulging in fellatio or cunnilingus with an infected person can be very risky.

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Photographs: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters
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DON'T believe these sexual health myths!

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Myth 2. Oral contraceptives prevent sexually transmitted diseases

This myth states that birth control pills and oral contraceptives help in protecting the body against sexually transmitted diseases. Birth control pills are meant for a single purpose, and that's quite obviously specified in their very name -- birth control.

In no way do these pills fight against sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms can reduce the risk of infection by a significant margin, but pills cannot.

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Photographs: Victor Byckttor/Wikimedia Commons
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Myth 3. Herpes can be passed only after an outbreak

Herpes is passed between people purely through skin contact, regardless of whether there's been an outbreak or not. While some sexually transmitted diseases may start exhibiting symptoms at an early stage, other diseases exhibit symptoms only after a short period of time.

An outbreak need not necessarily be present for you to be infected. Moreover, herpes outbreaks occur in the genital region that's not usually covered by any condom, so it is easily transmitted.

You can have certain drugs, though, which can protect you against herpes when you come into contact with a herpes patient.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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Myth 4. All sexually transmitted diseases show symptoms soon

This is very untrue, and this is one of the major reasons why people end up ignoring the later symptoms.

Sometimes, infections may occur without any external symptoms initially (take for example, syphilis). The symptoms and effects may then start showing after a definitive period of time (around six weeks).

If you've had unprotected sex, you should immediately consult your doctor just to ensure that you're clean, because otherwise some symptoms may quickly start showing and your condition may worsen.

Even gonorrhea is normally confused with a bladder infection, so you should always go for a medical consult.

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Photographs: Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters
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Myth 5. All sexually transmitted diseases are curable

This one myth can single handedly be responsible for all the sexually unsafe activities that people indulge in. Not all sexually transmitted diseases can be cured, as there are diseases like HIV AIDS and other HPV infections that have no treatments or cure.

HPV infections can be treated in a temporary way, but the infection is a recurring one that cannot be fully eliminated. Even herpes has no cure, although there are treatment measures that can minimise its effects and reach.


Image: A still from Ragini MMS

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