Every year men of all ages are usually perplexed on what to get their special someone on Valentine’s Day. Sure, there are the regular stuff, flowers, chocolates in a heart shaped box, a romantic dinner at a pricey restaurant. The whole holiday revolves around romanticism and love, which naturally leads to sex. For many, this may mean for the first time with a new partner, especially among young adults and teenagers.

Of course everyone is warned about STD’s in school, yet many are ignoring the teachings and proceeding to have unprotected sex anyway. The CDC reports that in this country, STD’s are reaching epidemic levels, with over 20 million new sexually transmitted disease cases each year, and more than half of these are among people age 24 and below. So what is causing these numbers to reach such high levels? Below are a few common misconceptions about contracting STD’s.

I’m a virgin, you’re a virgin, were safevalentines std testing plush toys

Because you’re a virgin does not mean you are STD free. An infection can enter the body in other ways besides penis-vaginal sex. Many people do not consider oral sex or anal sex to be “sex”, and therefore, consider themselves a virgin. Both HPV and HSV (herpes) can be spread through oral sex, and many all other STDs can be transmitted through anal sex.

I’m not the type to get an STD, neither is my partner

There are still many stereotypes that people think they couldn’t possibly get an STD because they are not promiscuous or gay. However, STDs can infect anyone, whether you are straight, bisexual, or homosexual, or if you are promiscuous or not. It does not matter how responsible you are, how smart you are or how clean you are, you can both contract and transmit an STD to/from your partner.

I don’t have an STD, I just had a medical exam

Many people think that in their annual exam they will be tested for STDs, and if they had one their medical professional would have told them. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Only about 1/3rd of physicians test their patients for sexually transmitted diseases during their exams, and out of the ones that do get tested, half are only tested for HIV, and none of the others.

valentine std testing cardI would know if I am infected

This is one of the biggest problems of sexually transmitted diseases, most of them are asymptomatic. Although STDs can present with many different symptoms, many times people do not get any symptoms at all and are carriers for the disease. However, even if you show no signs of any disease, it can still pose a threat to your health and you can transmit it to others.

I always use condoms, I can’t get an STD

Unfortunately, this is false. There are a few STDs that can be transmitted even if you use a condom properly, such as HPV and HSV (Genital Herpes), both of which are incurable. These diseases can be passed on through skin contact, and barrier methods are ineffective for that.

This Valentine’s Day, please be safe.  Before engaging in sexual activity, talk to your partner about their sexual history and experiences. The only way to truly know if you or your partner is STD free is to get an STD test. We wish you a fun, safe, and romantic holiday.

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