STBBI Myths

(Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infection)

Click to bust the myth!

People with STBBIs are dirty

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Getting sick is a part of life! People do not stigmatize colds or the flu, so why STBBIs? Most STBBIs are not a big deal and our feelings of fear or disgust come mostly from the stigmas and stereotypes around them rather than the severity of the infections.

If you get chlamydia once, you’re immune and cannot get it again.

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You are not immune to chlamydia just because you have had it before. Other than Hepatitis B, your body does not build immunity to any STBBIs. Continue to use protective measures to ensure you don’t get it again.

Only gay men get HIV.

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Anyone regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender, class, or race can get HIV. HIV can be transmitted through anal sex, vaginal sex, pregnancy (pregnant person to baby), breastfeeding, or sharing needles and syringes.

You can cure herpes.

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Herpes is an incurable virus, however, the majority of people who have it are asymptomatic (meaning they don’t have any symptoms) and those who do can choose from a variety of treatments to help manage the symptoms.

People with vulvas are at a higher chance of carrying STBBIs than people with penises.

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This is completely false. Anyone can carry and transmit an STBBI, regardless of gender or sex. Blaming people with vulvas for STBBIs is just one of many examples of gender-based discrimination.

External Condom

The Pill

STBBI Myths

(Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infection)

Click to bust the myth!

If you don’t have any symptoms, it’s probably not chlamydia.

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In most cases, chlamydia doesn’t have any symptoms at all. 50% of people with penises and 75% of people with vulvas don’t show any noticeable symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested with an easy urine or swab from the genitals or throat.

Being HIV positive means you can never have sex again.

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Nope! People who are HIV positive have very happy and healthy sex lives. Just like anyone else, they are responsible to take precautions, get consent, and communicate honestly with their partners.

Herpes is rare.

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Both HSV-1 (usually on and around the mouth) and HSV-2 (usually on or around the genitals) are very common. In Canada, 1 in 7 people carry the virus but most do not show any outward symptoms.

STBBI tests are painful and embarrassing.

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Most STBBI tests are super quick and easy. They may be a little unpleasant or uncomfortable but they are generally not painful. There is nothing shameful about getting tested, it is part of being a responsible and considerate sexual partner.

You can’t get chlamydia through oral or anal sex.

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Chlamydia can be spread through vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, and childbirth.

STBBI Myths

(Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infection)

Click to bust the myth!

You can transmit HIV through kissing people.

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HIV is not transmissible through saliva. It can only be transmitted through ejaculate, pre-cum, blood, and vaginal secretions.

You can only get herpes if you have sex.

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Herpes is transmitted when the contagious area of one person touches another mucous membrane tissue, like the mouth or genitals, so you can get it from kissing too. It is much more contagious if the infected person has an open lesion.

Only people with multiple partners get STBBIs.

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This is a myth often used to stereotype and shame sex workers and/or individuals who choose to have multiple sexual partners at once. Having more partners simply means you are communicating with more people about safety, consent, bonderies, etc.

If you are HIV positive, you will inevitably get AIDS.

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HIV is the virus that causes the infection, AIDS. But being HIV positive doesn’t mean you will inevitably develop AIDS. The virus will never go away, but treatments exist that lower the amount of virus in your system so that it does not develop into AIDS.

If I have herpes, I can never kiss someone ever again.

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Though there is always a small risk of infection, It is unrealistic and impractical to eliminate skin-to-skin contact just because you test positive for herpes. Just make sure you are communicating honestly, getting consent, and avoiding contact if/when you have an open sore.
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