Read This Before You Have Sex

by Alanna Greco

OK, so hopefully you don't know everything there is to know about sexually transmitted diseases and infections because that would imply extensive personal experience with them, which is something I'd never wish on you, dear reader. You probably now the basics, but even if you think you're well-versed on the ins and outs (sex pun!) of STDs, there's still some uncharted territory that they may not have covered in health class. I've gathered five facts on STDs and STIs (learn what the difference is here, though they're often used interchangably) you probably didn't know, so read on — this will only take a minute.

1. You can get STDs in your eyes. YOUR EYES!!

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can infect your under eye tissue if semen gets in your eye or if you touch your eyes with traces of the disease on your hands. Because these two STIs are in body fluids, you can also get Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in your throat, mouth, and anus. And you thought pink eye was bad.

2. Condoms don’t always protect against HPV

ASHA informs us that latex condoms can only reduce the risk of HPV transmission, they can’t completely guard against it since HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact. This means that even if you always use a condom, you could still contract HPV. In other words: get all three rounds of your HPV vaccine.

3. STDs are costing Americans A LOT...

And I mean a lot. According to the Center for Disease Control,

“new estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.”

16 billion dollars! Think of the money you could save the county by wearing a condom and getting tested. Consider it a patriotic duty.

4…because A LOT of people are infected

ASHA reports that “one in two sexually active persons will contract an STD/STI by age 25.” Even more shocking is ASHA’s statistic on herpes, stating that "More than 50 percent of the adult population in the United States has oral herpes (commonly called cold sores or fever blisters). Most people contract oral herpes when they are children by receiving a kiss from a friend or relative.”

So basically ASHA is saying that your auntie gave you herpes. Think about that.

5. You can’t get STDs from a toilet seat.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get pregnant or get an STD from a toilet seat because sexually transmitted diseases cannot live long enough on a toilet seat (or outside of a body, for that matter) to be transmittable.

6. You can get HIV from your tattoo or piercing

Blood-borne infections such as HIV and certain strains of hepatitis can be transferred if equipment is not property sterilized, says ASHA. Make sure that your piercing or tattoo parlor discards instruments used to pierce or cut skin after they are used.

Moral of the story? Use a condom…you probably don’t want to get eye gonorrhea.