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Myths related to STDs

Aug 19, 1999

There seems to be a fairly widespread myth that an untreated gonnorhea infection will "turn" into syphilis. Is this true? Does an untreated gonorrhea infection turn into syphilis?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there are numerous myths out there. One such myth is that if you have one STD, it can turn into another STD. In reality, when a person has one STD, it will not turn into something else. Each STD is a separate and different disease. So gonorrhea will not turn into syphilis, chlamydia will not turn into herpes, hepatitis B will not turn into HIV, and so forth. But a person could certainly have more than one STD at the same time, especially since these diseases are transmitted in similar ways. So gonorrhea will not turn into syphilis, but a person may have both gonorrhea and syphilis at the same time. Just as a human will not turn into a gorilla, and a cat will not turn into a dog, gonorrhea will not turn into syphilis.

There are many other myths about STDs (and other sexual issues for that matter). Some of those myths include:

1) Anal sex "makes" HIV. Not true!

2) HIV started by people having sex with monkeys. Not true!

3) Only dirty or poor people get STDs. Not true!

4) You can get HIV and other STDs from toilet seats. Not true!

5) Only "bad" people get HIV or STDs. Not true! ANYBODY can get HIV or other STDs, regardless of how good or bad they are.

6) If you have HIV, having sex with a virgin will cure you. Not true!

7) If you masturbate, you will grow hair on your palms, or you will go blind. Not true!

8) If a woman stands on her head after having vaginal sex, she will not get pregnant. Not true!

9) And the list of myths goes on and on........

For more information on myths related to HIV and STDs, read the posting Separating Myths from Facts.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

What is a discharge?
Can you get more than one STD at the same time?

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