Much as we hate to say it, compared to white women and women of other races, Black women have a higher incidence of STDs. One of the ways to reduce the high rate of infection is to make sure that we are educated about how to keep ourselves safe. What also increases the likelihood of contracting an STD is believing false information.
A lot of Black women, unfortunately, when confronted with the facts and statistics about the rate of infection among them will react by being offended because they feel like they are being singled out or stigmatized. Below are four myths about STDs that are still prevalent, in spite of not being true:
1. If I just do 0ral/[email protected] s*x or have s*x with a v!rgin, I’m safe.
[email protected] s*x might seem like a viable option if you’re concerned about pregnancy or losing your virginity in the traditional [email protected] penetration sense; however, unprotected [email protected] s*x poses one of the highest STI risks. The [email protected] cavity is comprised of permeable mucous membranes which can provide an entry point for infection. Due to the nature of s*xual activity involving the @nus, small tears and cuts are common—especially if you’re not using enough [email protected]—so, additional points of entry present infection opportunities.
Choosing to have 0ral s*x or engaging in activities with someone who’s only had 0ral s*x might also seem like a way to lower your risk, but the risk of contracting an STI is still high. The mouth too is made up of mucous membranes, and something as common as a cold sore—herpes (usually HSV1)—can be transmitted to the [email protected] or vice versa.
2. We’ve both been tested, so we’re safe.
Getting tested is really important. But even if someone says they’ve been tested—and definitely if they say they’ve been tested for all STIs—it’s important to ask additional questions.
Anyone who says they’ve been tested for all STIs and is “clean” is giving you incorrect information right off of the bat. Not all STIs can be tested for—for some there just aren’t tests, or they can only be diagnosed if there are visual symptoms. Even most comprehensive STI tests only test for a handful of STIs—usually HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
Pap smears test for cervical abnormalities caused by high-risk types of HPV. They don’t detect any other STIs—or low-risk strains of HPV for that matter.