9 Questions You Have About STDs

The truth about STDs... P.S. they're more common than you'd think

Photo by Charles Deluvio

Three realities:


Yes, many consider STDs to be disgusting and scary.

Yes, STDs are very easy to get.

No, STDs are nothing to be ashamed of.

Are you having sex? If yes, then you should know what to do if you get an STD.

Here are some questions that college students asked about STDs:


1. How common are STDs in college?


Statistically speaking, about 1 in every 4 college students have an STD/STI. That means someone in your friend group has probably had an STD at one point or another.


If you don’t want to look at the numbers, just think about it logically. In college, the reason STDs spread is because everyone is having sex with the same people. One man can be asymptomatic and unknowingly give Gonorrhea to three girls in the same month. Each of those girls might then sleep with someone else and give it to three new people. The scariest part is that between the seven of them, none of them may experience any symptoms at all.


And honestly, it’s no one’s fault.


2. What if I have unprotected sex then later find out that I have an STD and I’m too embarrassed to tell my partner?


Sadly, we live in a world where STDs are shamed, and facing one can be difficult.

PSA: If you know you have an STD it is illegal to keep that information from anyone you’ve had sex with. Also, allowing someone to recklessly spread an STD is just fucked up.

The good news is that you don't have to actually confess.


When you go to get tested, if positive, you can leave the phone numbers of your sexual partners with the doctor and they will get contacted anonymously. Your name never has to come up.


If it’s a random one night stand then maybe this route sounds better. However, if it’s someone you personally know, maybe consider telling them yourself.

3. Where can I get tested for STDs?

Photo by Testalize.Me

Ladies, your gyno will probably be your go-to here. Unless there’s a crazy, three month wait to get an appointment, try here.


Other options include:

  • Urgent care

  • Primary care physician

  • School wellness center

  • Planned Parenthood

  • Walgreens

  • CVS STD kits (verdict still out on these)

4. How much does it cost to get an STD test?


Typically, it’s the cost of your co-pay. At the doctors or urgent care, you will most likely have to pay something. However, keep in mind that this will show up on your insurance. So if you’ve been having unprotected sex and contracted an STD, your parents will see the test if you’re on their insurance.


If your parents absolutely cannot find out, then try your school wellness center or Planned Parenthood. At Planned Parenthood, you are not required to provide insurance, but the upfront cost will probably be greater than your co-pay.


5. What are STD symptoms?


Ladies:

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Painful urination

  • Frequent urination

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Vaginal odor

  • Vaginal itching

Men:

  • Bumps or blisters on genitals

  • White discharge from the tip of the penis

  • Pain before ejaculation

  • Pain in the testicles

  • Frequent urination

  • Areas of swelling around the penis

  • Itching on the penis

These are only a few symptoms. This also doesn't mean that you will experience all or any of these yourself. Many people have STDs and never experience symptoms. It will vary based on the type of STD, your age, weight, gender, health etc.

6. What kind of test do I need?


Here’s the rule any physician will tell you to live by: if you have unprotected sex of any kind you should get a full STD panel.


So there are two common options for tests: urine and blood. The difference is what they test for.


Urine tests can detect trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
Blood tests can detect syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B and HIV
*HIV can also be tested by a cheek swab

Unless your partner tells you they tested positive for gonorrhea, for example, your doctor will recommend getting both tests. Of course, this is also dependent on your symptoms. If you have flu-like symptoms and have become severely ill, then HIV will be one of the first things they test for.

7. Are all STDs treatable?

The good news is that most STDs are treatable. The bad news is that some are not curable, so they will not permanently go away, but they can become undetectable.


For example, an STD like HIV is not curable, but it is treatable. With the help of an infectious disease doctor you can get it to become undetectable, provided you follow the protocol.


More common STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea are the easiest to treat. Normally they only require a one-time treatment of two pills and/or a shot in the ass then it's gone forever. After receiving the treatment make sure to wait a week before engaging in sexual activity again, then you should be in the clear.



8. Can I get an STD from oral sex?


Yes, of course.


If you suck someone’s dick then throw a condom on when you start to have sex you could still get an STD. In the same manner, you can give someone an STD by sucking their dick or engaging in other forms of oral sex. Although it is much LESS common to transmit an STD this way, it is still incredibly possible.


Just use condoms, forever and always.


Unless you and your partner are exclusive (dating, married, etc.) and know exactly what the other one is doing, then it’s a good idea to use protection. Even if you’re having sex with someone you know, they could give you an STD without even knowing it.



9. Why are people so ashamed of letting the person they are with know they have an STD?


Honestly, it’s the way STDs are presented in the world. When someone has an STD they’re considered “dirty” and it’s something people are ashamed of. Realistically, if someone has an STD it’s because someone else gave it to them… it’s not like our bodies make them on our own.


Scenario: you have a one-night stand and the next week that person texts you and tells you they feel symptomatic. They tell you they’re positive for _____, so you get tested and you are positive as well. You gave your one night stand an STD.


Okay, so what?


You’re not dating. You’re not even exclusive. You didn’t know you had one. It’s not your fault. Don’t be ashamed because someone gave you an STD first. All you can do is get treated, learn for next time, and move the fuck on.



*Disclaimer: Although I am not not a physician or at all qualified to speak as a medical professional, I came across these answers through research and asking people about their personal experiences. So if this list can help you, great, if not that's fine too. Either way you can thank me by using a condom.*

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