There’s a lot of misinformation out there about STIs, birth control, and sex in general. With so much wrong information in the world, it’s no surprise that STIs and unintended pregnancies are at an all-time high in the United States. If you’re sexually active, take control of your sex life by learning the truth about these common STI and contraception myths.

STI Myths

It just won’t happen to me.

Unfortunately, STIs are far more common than we like to think. Currently, it’s estimated that 65 million Americans are living with an STI and there are nearly 19 million cases of new STIs every year.

 

A quick round of antibiotics will cure an STI.

To be fair, many STIs can be cured with medication. However, there are still dozens of common STIs that can be treated, but not cured. HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis B virus, and cytomegalovirus cannot be cured.

 

Not all tests are equal.

Getting tested is an incredibly important part of safe sex. However, it’s not everything. Just because you both have been tested, that doesn’t mean you should automatically object to protective measures like condoms. Some people can get tested for only one type of STI, most commonly HIV or HPV, while other diseases cannot show up on a test until weeks after the initial exposure.

 

Contraception Myths

Cleaning after sex will prevent a female from getting pregnant.

Some women believe that douching after sex will remove any sperm still living inside of their vagina. However, after ejaculation sperm enters the cervix, which can’t be reached by a douching solution.  

 

There are “safe” days when a woman can’t get pregnant.

A common misconception about pregnancy is that there are certain days when a woman can’t become pregnant, particularly the days immediately before or after her period. Fluctuating hormones do mean that women are more and less likely to get pregnant on certain days than others. However, these days are different for each woman and are incredibly difficult to pinpoint.

 

You can use plastic wrap in lieu of a condom.

Condoms are specifically made to fit correctly and to be used during sex. Alternatives, like balloons and plastic wrap, can be torn much easier than condoms and are more likely to fall off during sex.

 

The “pull-out” method is as effective as condoms.

In recent years, the “pull-out” or “withdrawal” method of sex has become popular among young people, who believe that if a man pulls out before ejaculating, the woman can’t get pregnant. But, because some ejaculate can be released before the man climaxes, it’s still possible for a woman to get pregnant.

 

“The Pill” starts working the first day you take it.

The pill affects every woman differently. For some women, it will take effect within a week or two of the first dosage. However, some women need to be on the pill for a month before it becomes effective. When in doubt, you should talk to your doctor or wait at least a month before relying on the pill to protect you or your partner from pregnancy.

 

If you are sexually active or suspect that you may have an STI, CIRCLE CARE Center is a Center of Excellence for the prevention and treatment of STIs.