Sexually Transmitted Diseases are a type of infection that has a primary mode of transmission from person to person as intimate contact. STDs, which name itself is self-explanatory that these are infections spread through sexual contact. STDs are also commonly known as STIs, Sexually Transmitted Infections, or Veneral Diseases. When you come in contact with an STD-infected person, whether be it vaginal, anal, or oral sex, there are high chances of you getting infected.
Types of STDs
When it comes to STDs, what strikes our mind is HIV or Herpes which are some of the most severe infections that have no cure to date. HIV was once having a great toll on annual death rates b diseases in the top 10 spot in the late ’90s and early ’20s. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 35 million people have lost their life against HIV across the globe so far. However, today HIV is not the type that is highly prevalent of STDs in the United States or in many other countries. There are other types of STDs that are taking a major toll on overall STD cases. In fact, there are more than a dozen types of STDs across the globe, but the following 6 are the most commonly seen STDs –
Symptoms of STDs
Unlike other diseases, STDs do not typically indicate symptoms in the very initial stages. This is one of the reasons where many people get infected with STDs when practicing unsafe sex or engaging in intimate contact with unknown strangers. Some STDs can take even several weeks or even months for the symptoms to appear, which makes it difficult to detect and diagnose in the early stages.
However, when the symptoms appear, you can experience any of the following signs and confirm your condition –
STD symptoms seen in women are
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower abdominal pain
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
STD symptoms seen in men are
- Thick penile discharge
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Swollen testicles
- Anal itching
- Irritation inside the penis
- Painful bowel movements
Common symptoms are seen both in men and women
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Night sweat
When it comes to transmission there are multiple myths that need to be sorted out. One such myth that people have is “STDs can transmit via toilet seat”. We all know we are encountering some germs that may have the potential of causing diseases in the short term, however, that may not be the case for STDs. The name Sexually Transmitted Diseases is termed for a reason and most of them do not have any mode of transmission other than sexual contact. The primary mode of transmission is sexual contact and there are other ways some STDs can transmit, like exchanging unwashed sex toys, using a used razor, and accepting blood donations from unscreened donors. However, most of the other carrier types are highly unlikely and the most common mode of transmission is via sexual contact.
Myth 1: Can You Get an STD from a Toilet Seat?
As we know, toilet seats can contain germs but it is highly unlikely to say the germs and microorganisms are STD-related. According to the President of the American Society for Microbiology Abigail Salyers, explanation — “To my knowledge, no one has ever acquired an STD on the toilet seat — unless they were having sex on the toilet seat,” during a session with WebMD.
STD-causing microorganisms, be it a virus or bacteria, needs human blood or some livelihood around it that aids the living of the pathogen. In order to really give the chance of transmitting STD via toilet seat, you either have to have sex on the toilet seat or have an exposed wound on the thigh where the germs can penetrate inside, but that too STD-related virus getting in is highly unlikely.
Thus, STDs cannot be transmitted via toilet seat even when you use a public toilet, which is a highly contagious zone for diseases. Given all these uncertain environments, many prefer it to blame it on a public toilet seat they used a while ago than admitting they are sexually active and have had unsafe sex with multiple partners in the past — all because of the stigma attached to STD diseases.
Myth 2: Oral sex is safer than vaginal or anal sex
This is a common myth among the younger generation in particular. Oral sex is equally riskier compared to vaginal or anal sex. In fact, there are high chances of acquiring an STD orally than vaginal or anal sex. This is because your anatomy is clear open at the oral cavity than through the genitals. Viruses and bacterias from an infected person get transmitted through oral sex and oral intimacy is highly contagious than otherwise.
Myth 3: If you have a “virgin” partner then you won’t get an STI
It is possible that virgins do not act as a carrier for any of these STDs as they do not have any prior expossue. However, everyone’s meaning of “virgin” is not the same. Some people might have had oral sex and claim that they are still a virgin. This way your partners might be a carrier of STDs as oral sex is as contagious as vaginal or anal sex.
Thus, it is important to sit down with your new partner and listen to him/her talk by what means they are labeling themselves as a “virgin”.
Can you Catch Herpes STD from Toilet Seat?
Herpes is one of the very commonly reported STDs in the United States, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Herpes is caused by a virus names Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and they are of two types depending on the place of the infection – Oral Herpes and Genital Herpes. Similar to other STDs, Herpes does not transmit via the toilet seat, rather it spread through sexual contact.
Can you Catch HPV STD from Toilet Seat?
HPV is another type of viral STD that is similar to HIV, but not exactly the same. HPV infects more women than men. One of the most common symptoms of HPV is warts, a small flesh-like structure that pops on the skin, or the infected area like the genitals. Again, HPV also has no cure. If you acquire HPV, you have to live with it till your last breath. Catching the HPV virus on a toilet seat is not possible as the virus cannot withstand outside body environment for it to stay on the toilet until another person uses it.
How to Get Tested for STDs?
If you expect any of the symptoms mentioned above, then get tested for STDs right away to minimalize the impact of the infection on your health. We have 3 partners that provide STD testing who have labs spread over 3000+ locations across the United States. Choose your best appropriate STD testing provider from the below table, order online, and get tested for STD that you are suspicious about. Never leave an STD to cure on its own thinking of it similar to an allergic condition or flu which can go away on its own. In the case of STDs, the invaded pathogens need to be killed with the help of antiviral medications or antibiotics according to your case.
Leaving an STD untreated can lead to severe health complications such as infertility and Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome in women (PCOS).
What are the Treatment Procedures for STD Infections?
After testing for STDs, if your test comes positive then your physician may recommend a few medications to take according to the types of the STD acquired. Viral STDs like HIV and Herpes do not have any cure and only the symptoms can be suppressed with the help of drugs. In the case of bacteria-caused STDs, antibiotics will be prescribed to help you terminate the bacteria.
In both types, it is important not to involve in sexual activity until the course of the prescription is fully completed. Even if the symptoms start to disappear, it is not advisable to stop the medications mid-way.