STD Myths

How can I have HPV? I only had sex with one person!”

It’s a question doctors hear all the time. Patients have a hard time handling the diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease (STD), especially if it’s a viral STD that they will have for life. With these there’s no turning back. There are so many myths about the transmission of STDs. Here are just ten of the STD myths that you should be aware of.

Myth #1: I can’t get a STD from oral sex.

Newsflash…YOU CAN. STDs can be transferred by skin-to-skin contact, genital-to-genital contact and oral-to-genital contact. If you question whether you have an STD, you need to tell your doctor what kind of sex you are having (oral, anal or vaginal). Your doctor would need to test each area separately depending on the type of sex you’re having with your partner.

Myth #2: Using a condom protects against STDs.

Nope. Since herpes sores and genital warts can spread beyond the coverage that a condom provides, both diseases can be still be transmitted even when a condom is worn. Another word of advice; don’t substitute plastic wrap for a condom. It won’t work, trust us.

Myth #3: Two condoms are always better than one.

Sounds about right….NOT. If one condom is not enough to prevent the transfer of some STDs it’s logical to think that doubling up would provide STD protection, right? Negative. It is never recommended to wear more than one condom at a time.

Myth #4: Taking a birth control pill protects against STDs.

Totally false. No contraceptive pill is going to prevent the transfer of sexually transmitted diseases.

Myth #5: I will be able to tell whether my partner has a STD.

You CANNOT tell by simply looking at a person whether they have a STD. The truth is that some STDs, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia can be completely silent, meaning that there aren’t any telltale symptoms. The only way to know for sure that someone does not have a STD would be STD testing.

Myth #6: The chlorine in a hot tub kills semen and prevents transfer of STDs.

FALSE. Although chlorine smells like a disinfectant, it isn’t. Which means, it does NOT kill bacteria that could cause the transfer of a sexually transmitted disease (bacterial or viral). It also does NOT kill sperm on their journey towards conception.

Myth #7: I’ve only had sex with one person so there’s no way I could have gotten an STD.

Think so, huh? Did you know that if you have sex with ONE person who has only had ONE other sexual partner, you have up to an 84% chance of getting HPV (genital warts)? What do you think happens to that percentage if you and/or your partner has had multiple sexual partners? Plus, remember that HPV can be transferred through oral contact with or without fluid exchange.

Myth #8: I’ve only had 4 sexual partners and I plan on staying with my current partner so I don’t need to worry about getting tested.

Wrong…check out the sexual exposure chart below! If you’ve had 4 sexual partners, and they’ve had 4 partners, in reality you’ve really been exposed to 15 people. So now what do you think about getting tested? No matter how many sexual partners you’ve had, it’s always recommended to get tested for STDs, especially if you are making the choice to continue being sexually active.


Myth #9: I’ve been sexually active with multiple partners for several years…I would know by now if I had a STD.

You may THINK you are in the clear BUT…the truth is that many STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be asymptomatic (silent) especially in women. Men are going to be aware of a bacterial infection but women may not know that they have gonorrhea for several years. By the time they get the diagnosis, it may be when they are ready to settle down and have a family and they may have to face the possibility of being infertile.

Men can often be the carriers of some high risk HPV that can cause cervical cancer in women. Men, do you really want to settle down with the woman of your dreams only to find out that she is facing a diagnosis of cervical cancer due to the fact that you were carrying HPV and didn’t even know it?

Myth #10: I can’t have two STDs at once.

WRONG. You can definitely have more than one STD at a time. When doctors test for chlamydia they often test for gonorrhea as well because these two bacterial infections can frequently go hand in hand. There can also be several other combinations of STDs such as HPV and herpes.

We hope that these facts have been helpful for you and that you will get tested if you’ve been sexually active. As you can see, it doesn’t matter what kind of sex you’ve had, whether it’s been once or 25 times, or with one or several partners…you are at risk of receiving or transmitting a sexually transmitted disease.

And even more, we hope that you will consider your future. The best prevention is to have a mutually monogamous marriage relationship; ONE partner for life.

Is there another myth out there that we didn’t cover?

Have a question? Leave a comment below!

There are 32 comments .

layla —

I had sex with a guy and we used a condom ..but i gave him oral with out one and noticed he had bumps …he said it was jock itch and he was embarrassed so i quickly stopped but we put a condom on and had sex…a few days later he comes from the doc and says he has HPV..Now im sure I have it ,…im so scared I cry Im going crazy …I have a child and im scared can my child get it?? also if i get the vaccine now not knowing if i have it or not would it help?

PLEASE help email or anything please


We’re glad you contacted us and we’ll sure try to help. Although we don’t do STD testing at our clinic, our medical director, Dr. Michele Krieger has reviewed your questions.

Concerning your first question about whether you should worry about your child contracting HPV, Dr. Michele said that HPV is spreadthrough intimate contact. Normal touching and play activity with yourchild does not put your child at risk of HPV. Babies born to mothers with HPV have a rare risk of obtaining HPV related disease along their vocal cords, but this is very rare.

In response to your second question about whether you should get the HPV vaccine she said that the HPV vaccine is recommended for women and girls between the ages of 9 and 26. It is best to get the vaccinebefore initiating sexual contact since that gives the most protection against the virus. It is still recommended to have the vaccine if you are theappropriate age and have had sexual contact. The vaccine will not be as protective to the person, but can still be helpful. The vaccine is now recommended for boys and men in the same age group.

We understand that this is a very personal topic and we hope that Dr. Michele’s above responses have helped answer your questions. Additionally, we highly recommend that you consider contacting your family physician about STD testing to confirm if you did in fact contract HPV.

We would be glad to provide a free pregnancy test if you think there is a chance you could be pregnant. Let us know if there is anything more we can do to help you.

Michelle —

Thank you for this info site. It helps us see our culture of promiscuity lies to us. Our parents/grandparents got the best advice and lived it: wait until after marriage to give your body to another. They were healthier in body, mind, and soul . . . and divorce was very rare. Here’s to the New Sexual Revolution: after marriage = true love, health, and lasting happiness!

anonymous —

Can woman transfer gonorreah and chlamydia to men?


Yes, it is transferable both ways. Thanks for your question!

anonymous —

If a girl has genital warts but is not having an outbreak neither in the mouth nor the genital area, can it still be transferred if the girl gave oral sex to a guy?


Great question! According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), “Most sexually active adults will get HPV at some point in their lives, though most will never know it because HPV infection usually has no signs or symptoms.” ( This makes it pretty clear that the answer to your question is, yes, genital warts can be transferred orally even if there is no outbreak visible.

anonymous —

Me and my fiance’ has only been sexually active with each other, and we’re both virgins when we started having sex. Can we still have or get a STD?

Kit —


My partner and I have been sexually active for the past 2 years. We haven’t had sex with anyone else but each other. However we both have kissed only one other person other than each other. Is it possible that we may have an STD? Also, my period this month was abnormally very painful, what may have caused this?


Great questions! We really appreciate you taking the time to submit your questions! Because there are STDs that can be transmitted orally, there is a chance of having an STD such as herpes which can be transmitted orally even if the other person does not have any symptoms at the time of contact. As far as your question about your painful period, we would suggest contacting your family physician about that.


You need to consider what other types of sexual contact you’ve had with other partners. This would include hand to genital contact, oral contact along with penile/vaginal penetration. We would suggest contacting your family physician to discuss getting tested. Thanks for your question!

Anonymous —

I hear people say cold sores on the mouth is a type of STD.
Should you not kiss someone when you have a cold sore?
Is that true?


Yes, cold sores on the mouth can be a symptom of herpes which can be transmitted sexually both orally or through oral-genital or genital-genital contact. Something to remember would be that herpes can be spread even when there are no symptoms present. If you would like more information about herpes, check out


i have an STI but my boyfreind doesnt have it,and his the only guy i’ve ever slept with,where could i have gotten it from? an what sort STI IS IT? cause i have warts on my vagina,yellowish discharge,i had back pains,burns and was itchy.

kay —

I was diagnosed with gonorrhea by my obgyne but I haven’t been sexually active in over six years. How is this possible?

Anonymous —

I get cold sores from my mother and I have a few questions
1. Is it hereditary and if my wife has children can they get it from me
2. Can they break out in the gentital areas by oral
3. does this mean I have herpies

Thanks you

shof —

hi i am a grl and i had just tested a week a go but i havent seen my result yet.i thnk i have herpes because i have the symptoms and i thnk my partner has it to. can we still have a normal life?i have learn through internet that the virus wont go away and the disease is not curable.does this mean every time we do sex our herpes gets worse each time?is the disease deadly?

anonymous —

Me and my boyfriend have lost our virginities with each other, we havent had any other sexual partners, and we havent kissed anyone who has an STI either, me and my boyfriend have had sex without condoms several times, i was just wondering if we could contract an STI at all considering the above info?

Mandy —

Is it possible if you know that you and your partner are both clean, and we have intercourse a lot that we could end up getting an STD. Even though we were both clean to begin with?


VIVIENNE – Hi! Sexual contact is not always required for someone to get a sexually transmitted infection. Herpes and Hepatitis B, for example, can be spread through non-sexual contact. Genital warts are typically associated with the sexually transmitted disease/infection called human papilloma virus or HPV. Diagnoses of specific diseases/infections should only be obtained through a licensed clinician such as your primary health care provider.

Because of the symptoms you were having, it is very important for you to see a licensed clinician and get testing and treatment. You and your health are worth it! We hope this information answers the questions you had, but if it doesn’t or if something doesn’t quite make sense, please don’t hesitate to email or call us again. We are confident that it won’t take us so long to respond next time!


Kay – Hi! We haven’t forgotten about you! Thanks for reaching out. Sorry it took so long for us to get back to you! By now, maybe you’ve had your questions answered. Just in case you haven’t found the answers you were looking for, I do have some information to share with you that I hope you will find helpful.
You may have another STD/STI besides Gonorrhea that has just not been diagnosed. Several sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphilis and human papilloma virus (HPV) can lie dormant in the body for years. Gonorrhea typically does not lie dormant for years as it is a bacteria and not a virus. There are many differences between bacteria and viruses. If you have been given this diagnosis, it is important for your health that you have it treated. One of the tough things about Gonorrhea is that people who are infected with it don’t always know it until damage to their bodies has already occurred. Gonorrhea has several very serious complications; one is the development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which causes tubal scarring and ectopic pregnancy. Don’t wait to have this treated, get in as soon as possible to see your primary care provider. You and your health are worth it!


Anonymous – Hi! We haven’t forgotten about you! Thanks for reaching out. Sorry it took so long for us to get back to you! By now, maybe you’ve had your questions answered. Just in case you haven’t gotten the answers you were looking for, I do have some information to share with you that I hope you will find helpful. I’m a nurse, so bear with me, most of us like to “talk” ☺
It is important to understand how herpes is spread. It is spread through contact with lesions (open sores on the skin), mucous & secretions (genital or oral). This is not just referring to sexual contact. Any contact with mucous or secretions such as kissing, eating from the same utensil & using the same damp towel can spread the virus. It also spreads itself through a process called “shedding.” Shedding can happen anytime and does occur regularly with herpes infection. During shedding, the sleeping herpes virus travels to the surface of normal looking skin or skin with lesions and it leaves itself on the surface of the skin. It is not spread through your DNA (genes) and is not hereditary. It has to be passed or transmitted to another individual; it is not something people are hard-wired with at birth.
In the past, people rarely got genital herpes through the oral route. That is no longer true. More and more, genital herpes is being caused by the virus that used to be most associated with oral herpes.
There are a lot of tests available to determine whether or not a person has herpes and what kind of herpes they have. If you could have been exposed to the virus through the contact outlined above, it is important for you to get all the facts so you can make informed decisions about testing and treatment.
That pretty much sums it up. We want to thank you again for taking the time to email us and trusting us enough to ask the hard questions of life. We really value that. If, after reading this, something doesn’t make sense or it brings up another question, please don’t hesitate to email or call. We are confident that it won’t take us so long to respond next time! Thanks again.


shof – One of the problems with herpes is that there are often no symptoms or they are very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are often mistaken for another illness. So, someone could be actively carrying herpes, not know and then go on to infect others. When symptoms do appear, herpes will show up as a blister or group of blisters (also known as vesicles) around the mouth, genitals or rectum. The blisters usually take about 4 days to appear after an exposure. Then the blisters break open, leaving painful ulcers that remain for 2-4 weeks. They usually heal without leaving scars. This process is referred to as “an outbreak.” The first outbreak is usually worse than later ones. Also, repeat outbreaks are very common during the first year of infection. As time passes, the frequency and severity of outbreaks usually lessens (this is not true for people who already have a weakened immune system, such as those who are HIV positive, the very elderly and children).
Herpes is not curable. Once a person has it, they have it. Herpes lives in the nerves and can travel along the nerve pathways in the body and show up on other parts of the body such as the eyes, hands, buttocks, thigh and groin. Herpes is still treatable with anti-viral medications that can be taken daily. Herpes is never gone; it just goes to sleep so to speak. The medical words for that are latent or dormant. So, if someone has herpes and it is not treated or controlled, they are really putting their partner at risk and themselves because the partner can then pass even more active infection back.
You asked if you could have a normal life. I guess that depends on your definition of normal. **Here it is important to think of the future, which is hard to do when a person’s hormones are really singing to them!** At Collage, we know that the healthiest and best sex occurs inside the boundaries of a one man, one woman husband/wife relationship. Normal, in that sense, is being able to express the love that’s felt in that relationship anytime that couple wants to do so. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that if an infected person is having an outbreak or other symptoms of herpes are present, that person should abstain from sexual activity. It is important to know that even without symptoms a person can still infect their partners. Proper and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes, however, outbreaks and thus transmission (actually passing herpes on) can occur in areas that are not covered by a condom. So think 10 years down the road…you and your hubby are really feeling the love, but wait, you’re having an outbreak. That reality is not ideal, but it would be the normal for a person with herpes.
Herpes infection can be passed from mother to baby resulting in potential infant fatality. So, yes it can be deadly. Other rare complications from herpes include: blindness, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and inflammation of the linings of the brain (meningitis). Herpes can also cost people in their relationships because of the perceptions associated with having a sexually transmitted infection, so it is valuable to know how to communicate about herpes with your loved ones.
Ok, that is A LOT of information, so please don’t hesitate to comment again, email, or call if you have other questions or if something just doesn’t make sense. We are confident that it won’t take us so long to respond next time!


Anonymous and Mandy,

Hi from Collage :) We got your email and want you to know that you have made a good choice to reach out and get accurate information so you and your boyfriend can each take care of your own sexual health. The only way to be sure you don’t contract a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD/STI) is to remain sexually pure until you are able to be in a long-term, monogamous relationship (marriage). Even though you have chosen to express yourself sexually, you both can still make a commitment toward purity going forward; this is the best way to protect your reproductive health as well as your minds and your hearts. The challenge with high school relationships is that they usually don’t last very long. At Collage, we know that the average high school relationship only lasts about 6 months. An important question you each need to ask yourselves is, do you really believe that your partner has only been sexually expressive with you? This is a really big trust issue.

At best, you are choosing to take some huge risks. Even if you don’t get pregnant, which is very possible even with protection, this is going to affect you emotionally and mentally. We want to empower you to choose the harder, better path over the easier, lesser path. If your boyfriend is not willing to honor you now, chances are that he won’t honor you later. The better question to ask yourself is what do I want out of life? Do I want… just to not get an STI or do I want something more? At Collage, we believe that you deserve the best!! The last thing I want to share with you is that we know, from evidence, that married couples, committed only to each other, who save themselves for one another, really do have the best sex. I hope this has been helpful. If something doesn’t quite make sense or it brings up other questions, please don’t hesitate to email again or call anytime! We are here for you, and we believe in you!!

Tonio —

Myth #11 you wrote yourself: “The best prevention is to have a monogamous marriage relationship; ONE partner for life.” Marriage and monogamy are no prevention against STDs, since no one can ever be 100% sure that their spouse is really monogamous. The ONLY prevention is total abstinence: ZERO partners for life. If you think you’re protected from STDs because you’re married and monogamous, you’re only fooling yourself.

anonymous —

My boyfriend and I lost our virginity to each other. He has only received oral sex from one other person but besides that we have not come in contact at all with anybody else sexually. He always wears a condom, however is there ever a possibility of us ever getting an STD?

Also, the other day he gave me oral sex (with no dental dam), and he had a sore in his mouth. We realized after this was a bad idea. However this isn’t the first time this has happened (he has braces so he has little cuts sometimes). Will he get any diseases from this?



Tonio, thanks for your comment. We have gone back into that post to clarify that sentence to read “The best prevention is to have a mutually monogamous marriage relationship; ONE partner for life” to address your concern that while one partner can be in a monogamous relationship the other may not. This assumes that both partners have not engaged in sexual activity prior to their relationship, or that they have been tested and determined to be STD free. We hope this clarification satisfactorilly address your concerns. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


Based on the information you have given, yes, it is possible that both of you could have a STD. Any sexual contact with a person that has a STD can result in contracting that disease and as we mentioned in the post, you can get an STD from oral sex (Myth #1) and condoms do not protect agains STDs (Myth #2). We don’t want to scare you, but if you want to be sure that you are both STD free, getting tested is the only way to know for sure.

Flip —

I gave oral sex to a man 3 days ago. He call me and ask if I have any STD’s as his penis is sore. No discharge or burning when peeing. He’s really worried but I’ sure I have no STD”s Can I pass STD with oral if there are no sores on his penis or in my mouth. No semin entered my mouth and has not for many many months.


Hi! I’m so glad you reached out to get accurate information to protect your health. I also think it says a lot about the kind of person you are that you are inquiring on behalf of your partner as well as yourself. I appreciate that you are willing to ask personal questions for the sake of someone else and their health. At Collage, we care about you and want you to enjoy the very best life possible.

The short answer to your question is: Yes, there is a chance you passed an STI (sexually transmitted infection) along to him, even with no sores in your mouth or on his genitals & even with no semen entering your mouth (for many, many months). The way it could have been passed is simply from your mouth to the lining of his urethra-the opening at the tip of the male penis. You mentioned that you are sure you do not have an STD. Unless you were tested before providing oral sex to this man and were free of all 25 or more STIs out there (the number varies slightly depending on how ‘STI’ is defined) how can you be sure you do not have an STD/STI? Or how can he be sure? Maybe he has a sexually transmitted infection that is just now showing up in the form of soreness.

Many of the STIs do not have symptoms. You can have one (or more), not know it, and pass it along to someone else and vice versa. So, while it seems like a good thing that he doesn’t have any discharge from his penis or burning with urination, that does not mean he does not have a sexually transmitted infection. The fact of the matter is that providing and receiving oral sex is a really risky behavior. Collage would highly recommend that you each see your Primary Care Provider and get tested for the full panel of STIs. Like I mentioned earlier, we care about you, not just your health. We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you further if that is something you might be interested in. We are open M-W 9-5 and Th 10-5. We are closed on Fridays. Thanks again for contacting Collage I hope this is helpful to you!

Dionne Moore, RN

jasmine Craig

Ok so on may20th,2014 I found out that I tested positive for chlamydia so ever since then I haven’t had any sexual relations until June6th,2014 we used protection and after that I haven’t done anything with no one else so I’m just wondering if I still have it if I haven’t had any sexual relations for about 8weeks now?


You said you had tested positive for chlamydia but you didn’t say whether you had received any treatment. Just stopping sex for a period of time does not cure the disease. Unfortunately we aren’t able to give you the answer you are looking for with the information you have provided. The only way to know for sure you are STD free would be to have another test.

Share Your Thoughts!

Contact Information

At Collage, we’ve experienced the restoration of beauty in our own lives, and that compels us to help others seek the beauty within them.

Don’t ever hesitate to contact us.

Kearney Office
3000 2nd Avenue Suite 100
Kearney, NE 68847

  • (308) 234-9880
  • Grand Island Office
    822 N. Diers Ave.
    Grand Island, NE 68803

  • (308) 675-2217
  • Donate
    Copyright ©2013. All Rights Reserved. | Design by