As far as myths go, the world of STI information is rampant with them. People make countless assumptions about STIs, and much of this is because there’s still a lot of stigma that exists with STIs. Our gynecologist Dr. Carole Neuman is here to set the record straight. Take a look at some of the most common STIs that exist, and contact Neuman GYN to set up an appointment and to put your health as a top priority.

Myth #1: You can’t kiss someone with an STI.

The Truth: It’s possible, but it’s rare — and the likelihood depends on the type of STI.

As Plus Magazine reports, “The truth is STIs can be transmitted through kissing, but hardly because of saliva. When anyone has an open sore or cut in their mouth (sometimes we can even get them from brushing our teeth too hard), it makes it more likely to exchange blood — and blood is the major culprit in STI transmission.”

If you’re kissing someone who has herpes, there’s more of a chance you could get herpes, regardless of if they have an open sore or not. Other STIs cannot be transmitted by saliva alone, but it’s still another great reason why you should get tested for STIs (and require your sexual partners to do the same).

Myth #2: STI tests are painful.

The Truth: They’re very rarely painful, and oftentimes the buildup and fear is more painful than anything.

The only reason we don’t say they’re not painful at all is because there are different types of STI tests. Many STI tests require a urine sample, and others (such as certain HIV tests) utilize a swab of the inside of your cheek. These kinds of tests are not painful whatsoever!

Sometimes, specific STIs can only be tested with a blood draw. This is considered “painful” for some, but for most, it’s more uncomfortable than anything. Blood draws are also quick — they’re over in a matter of seconds. While you might experience a tough time with a nurse finding a vein, this is rare and you’ll likely be surprised at how fast and painless it was. It’s a discomfort, but it’s one that’s worth it for the sake of having answers about your health.

Myth #3: If you have an STI, your life is over.

The Truth: Millions of people have STIs and are completely fine, and live healthy, normal lives.

You might never guess this, but half of all sexually active people will have an STI by the age of 25. Some of the most common STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, are treatable and go away after proper medical attention.

But even the most severe and “scariest” STIs are able to be managed, and they do not make you a damaged person. There’s so much stigma around STIs that make it a hard topic to talk about. The truth is that as long as people with STIs are taking proper precautions — both in terms of their own personal health and with past, present, and future sexual partners — they will live a full, healthy, and normal life.

It can be extremely scary to get this diagnosis, but there’s something amazing about knowing you have an STI, and it’s that you at least know. By avoiding an STI, you could end up with a number of serious health problems — and even death. You could put countless others at risk for the same thing. But when you know that you have an STI, you’re able to get the proper treatment to get your life back on track.

Take this as your sign to get tested. Don’t let the myths run around in your head, let the truth put your mind (and body) at ease. Call gynecologist Carole Neuman to set up an appointment — we are a judgment-free, health-first clinic, and we’re happy you’re taking this courageous step to know more about your health.