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Myths and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted (STD) disease in Canada and is most often seen in men and women under 25 years of age. The number is most likely higher than reported because not everyone gets tested. How does chlamydia actually spread and what does your dentist have to do with your sex life?

Myth: Can you get chlamydia in the eye?

Yes, in principle you can. Chlamydia is an infection of the body’s mucus membranes and therefore it can also affect the eyes. For example, mothers with the disease can infect their babies’ eyes at birth, which will manifest itself as an eye inflammation. It can also lead to pneumonia, but this is rare.

Myth: Can you get a venereal disease (STD) without having sex?

Rarely, because viruses and bacteria in venereal diseases survive really poorly outside the body. There must be close contact between two bodies in order for them to be transmitted. Venereal diseases are transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex and it is therefore unlikely you will be infected in other ways. In theory, however, some venereal diseases can be transmitted if you either rub yourself on a toilet seat, use an infected person’s towel, or if you get blood from an HIV infected person onto an open wound, but in practice, the likelihood of this happening is very small. So, there is no need to worry.

Myth: Can your dentist see when you have had oral sex?

Yes, if the dentist knows what to look for. They can look at the mucus membrane of the mouth after oral sex. There may be both mechanical tissue damage and reddening blood extracts in the palate and on the mucus membranes due to negative pressure. The dentist will be able to see that.

Myth: Is HIV transmitted through all forms of body contact?

No, HIV is only transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk and must enter the bloodstream directly before the virus can be transmitted. This can happen, for example, during unprotected sex, during childbirth or during breastfeeding. If you hug or share a glass of water with an infected person, the disease is not transmitted.

Myth: Does chlamydia always hurt?

No, less than half of all those who are infected with chlamydia notice it. So, you can easily be infected without experiencing symptoms, and therefore it is not enough to be checked exclusively if you are in pain.

Myth: Are cold sores and genital herpes different conditions?

Yes, but cold sores can be transmitted to the genitals if you are infected and have oral sex with a partner. However, most cases of the genital herpes virus are the HSV-2 VIRUS, while the cold sores around the mouth are HSV-1.

Do sexually transmitted diseases come from animals?

Yes, in fact, several venereal diseases have originated in from animals. You might already have heard that Koalas are known to have chlamydia, HIV comes from monkeys, syphilis probably came from cattle or sheep, while gonorrhea also comes from cattle. In humans, the diseases create inflammatory conditions, increased risk of miscarriages and decreased fertility.

Medication to treat Chlamydia is free in British Columbia.

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