Just recently EBRU TV in the segment show Let’s Talk, the hosts were discussing a phone conversation that leaked between a Kenyan celebrity and a woman he had infected with an STI. From the conversation, the woman was calling to inform the guy of the predicament so he can take responsibility. Of course, there’s no rule that you should tell your partner you have an STI/STD. But all that changes when you think it came from them. You should know that it is considered a crime to infect someone with an STD knowingly.
As you can guess, at the mention of STI, the guy plunged straight into a few stages of grief. First came denial as he claimed that he couldn’t possibly harbour such an infection. Of course, the denial was coupled with shock as he went on to argue that the woman had gotten her STI from somewhere else. Why, because apparently he hadn’t had unprotected sex for a period of six months.
Finally, he claimed depression. That happened when he mentioned stress and his fear of death. Instantly, the woman jumped in to console him and so would the conversation continue with a few backs and forth…
This got me thinking; are men really proactive about STIs?
My question is partly rooted from this particular incident and more from what I have experienced first-hand.
Many times I’ve seen my female friends seek treatment, consecutively, with the knowledge of the man, who in contrast never does, because he holds the belief that he doesn’t have the infection. But why does this happen?
To capture the answers to this question we’d have to break down some of the untold truths and address the gaps in knowledge/myths that most people harbour about STIs/STDs.
The first myth is that STIs can be contracted from toilet seats. While deciphering what diseases can be contracted from toilet seats is another whole conversation, research has yet to prove that STIs/STDs are a part of it. STIs are not spread through toilet seats but through direct skin-to-skin sexual contact.
Having protected sex eliminates the risk of contracting/transmitting STIs completely. The truth is you can transmit/contract STIs even with protected sex. As long as there’s skin-to-skin sexual contact there’s a risk. Nonetheless, using a condom greatly reduces the risk altogether.
It is shameful to get an STI/STD. The truth of the matter is that STIs are common among both men and women and delaying treatment/ignoring the infection, doesn’t make it go away.
Another myth is that only people with most sexual partners can contract STIs/STDs. Sexually transmitted diseases don’t consider an account of sexual history when transferring from one body to another.
Most people believe that only women can contract/transmit STIs and that men cannot contract the infection easily due to their biological makeup. This is a myth that takes us to our next point.
At the mention of an STI, people tend to think of an incurable disease often associating it with HIV/AIDS. Hence why most people feel reluctant to take action immediately because of this stigma. Since this is a myth, it is imperative to get regular sexual health checks, especially if you are sexually active.
The fact is you can live with an STD/STI for years without knowing it. Sometimes the symptoms are mild, unnoticeable or can be mistaken for other ailments. Yeast infection in women is a good example. Hence why it is always advisable for both parties to get checked by a professional instead of self-medicating. Here are 6 sex hygiene habits you shouldn’t skip.
That said, make a point to always discuss your test results with your doctor, to discover what has been tested/detected and what hasn’t. Here are some Do’s and don’ts for a healthy vagina.
Lastly, although an STI and STD denote the same thing, having an STI doesn’t necessarily signify that you have an STD. In essence, not all STIs morph into STDs. Regardless, STIs should be treated as early as they are detected to avoid future problems. Find out more about the differences here.
I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.