Are STIs glamorous? Not in the slightest. Are they fun? Not particularly. Are they fashionable? Definitely not. This doesn't mean that they can’t be interesting, however.
The truth is, the more you know about sexually transmitted infections, the more informed (and hopefully vigilant) you’ll be about looking after your sexual health.
At the very least, knowing a few of these facts might just keep you on your pub quiz team for the foreseeable future.
Without further ado, here are four mind-bending, striking, and downright weird facts about STIs:
1. The Oldest STI on record is hepatitis B.
Syphilis is one of the earliest STIs on record. The first European syphilis epidemic was noted in 1495 amongst French troops, hence why (for a while) it was known as The French Disease (sorry, France!). And although it was recognised over 500 years ago, there’s another STI that’s even older than that...
Evidence of the oldest STI was found during an excavation of ancient humans in Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan and Russia (sorry Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan and Russia!). Their genetic fragments, dating back 4,500 years, contained traces of hepatitis B. In fact, of the remains analysed during this excavation, 10% had hepatitis B.
While modern conveniences have generally made life much easier, it seems we still share some of the same struggles as our ancient ancestors. Unfortunately for them, sexual health wasn’t much of a concept yet, and they certainly didn’t have the option to order an at-home STI test kit from Yoxly.
2. There are more than 30 sexually transmitted infections.
It’s possibly the worst chat-up line in all of history, but according to the World Health Organisation, there are over 30 infections that are known to be transmitted through sexual contact.
Some of the most uncommon sexually transmitted infections are cytomegalovirus, donovanosis and intestinal parasites (sexy!).
Want to know more about the possible symptoms? Check out our STI information page.
3. STIs treatment costs the US around $16 billion each year.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the US spends around $16 billion dollars per year on the treatment of sexually transmitted infections. This figure includes STIs that can be fully treated with a short course of antibiotics (e.g. trichomoniasis), and those that cannot yet be cured but are chronically managed (e.g. HIV). The annual cost of treating “curable” STIs is $742 million, the most common of which is chlamydia.
So, chlamydia is the most common of the STIs! Another fantastic chat-up line to remember the next time you’re at the bar!
Our advice is to save yourselves, and your fellow citizens’ taxes, and wear protection--wherever you are.
4. STIs can be spread just through kissing.
Not all STIs can be spread orally, but some certainly can. There are two in particular, namely herpes and cytomegalovirus.
Herpes, otherwise known as HSV-1 or HSV-2, is an infection that can be acquired through non-sexual and sexual means. During sexual contact, herpes can be transmitted via vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex, as well as through kissing.
Oral symptoms include:
Sores on the lips, gums, or on the front of the tongue
Sores on the insides of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, or at the back of the throat
Gums may become red and swollen
Glands in the neck may become swollen and tender
Cytomegalovirus is related to the herpes family (what a horrid family!). Similar to herpes, it can be transmitted via open-mouthed kissing--and once you have it, it will stay in your body for the rest of your life. Usually it just causes mild flu-like symptoms, but it can be more problematic for unborn babies and people with weakened immune systems.
Oral symptoms include:
We promised you four startling facts about STIs and we hope we’ve delivered. We’ve learnt that hepatitis B has been around for at least 4,500 years. We’ve learnt there are over 30 infections that can be sexually transmitted. We learnt that STIs are extremely costly, and that some can be spread just by kissing!
If you would like to order an STI home kit from Yoxly, then click here. They’re discrete, convenient, secure...and delivered directly to your door.
Drew Lovell has created content for various tech and entertainment companies, including Disney Online. His latest role was for a leading learning tech company, which saw him as the head of YouTube, chief blogger and social media expert. Drew has also written comedy for BBC Radio Four, released x2 podcast series, and x3 novels.