Over 1 million people globally acquire a sexually transmitted infection (STI) each day, according to the World Health Organization. STIs can be mild, but they can also do some serious damage to a person’s reproductive health if they’re not treated.
However, because of the many myths about STIs, many patients often don’t even know they have one until a test reveals it. To help strengthen your reproductive and overall health, our team at SmartClinic Urgent Care breaks down five common myths about STIs.
Spermicides help prevent pregnancy because they either kill or stop sperm cells from reaching an egg. For some time, it was a common thought that using a spermicide could also kill bacteria or organisms that lead to STIs, but this isn’t true.
In fact, some spermicides, like those that contain nonoxynol-9, may actually increase the risk of developing an STI because it causes irritation in certain female reproductive organs.
Many STIs, like chlamydia, respond to antibiotics because they’re bacterial infections. On the other hand, viral STIs like HIV or genital herpes have no cure. Medications can help manage them and improve symptoms when they flare up, but they never truly go away.
Perhaps the most dangerous myth about STIs is that if you have no noticeable symptoms, you’re in the clear. In some cases, you may have mild symptoms that are mistaken for something else.
HPV, chlamydia, and syphilis can lie dormant in your body for some time and not have any symptoms. For this reason, many people often go undiagnosed until symptoms show up, which increases the risk of long-term health complications.
Syphilis can affect fertility and increase the chances of miscarriage in pregnant women. And if HPV goes untreated, it can lead to cervical cancer.
Just because one partner tests negative for an STI doesn’t mean the other is free of infection. When you’re first exposed to an STI, it takes some time for your body to recognize it and for symptoms to appear. This is called the incubation period.
Some STIs have incubation periods that last for weeks or months and if you’re tested during the incubation period it may not show up yet because you haven’t developed antibodies. If you and your partner get tested together, though, it can prevent future complications.
You may have heard that contracting and treating an STI means your body built up an immunity to it. This isn’t true, as our bodies don’t build up an immunity to STIs. In fact, getting an STI puts you or your partner at a higher risk of contracting other infections.
Some STIs have unique testing methods. Chlamydia tests require a urine sample or genital swab, while HIV tests use blood and saliva samples. Depending on your sexual activity, sexual history, and symptoms, your SmartClinic Urgent Care provider may run multiple tests.
If you suspect you may have contracted an STI, getting tested sooner is the best way to ensure you stay healthy. Our team at SmartClinic Urgent Care understands that STIs can make patients feel embarrassed. But you can rest easy as we offer discreet, efficient in-office testing and treatment.
Start your routine STI testing today. Call, click, or walk into SmartClinic Urgent Care’s offices in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California, to schedule an appointment.