What is COVID-19?

COVID or 2019 novel coronavirus disease is a medical condition caused by a new type of coronaviruses, never identified in humans before. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections, which range from mild to severe. Initially, experts indicated that the source of the disease was animal-to-human spread. Later, they identified that human-to-human spread is also possible and highly potent. The disease firstly appeared in Wuhan, China, following to become a pandemic, meaning a global outbreak of disease. Usually, conditions that become a pandemic have a couple of characteristics, such as high congeniality and no current medical information about their diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Depending on its clinical presentation and the symptoms it displays, COVID-19 might be mild, moderate, or severe. It presents some of the following symptoms and signs. The symptoms might appear two to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (dyspnea or breathlessness)
  • Persistent pressure in the chest
  • Chest pain
  • New confusion 
  • Bluish discoloration of the lips or face

How does COVID-19 spread?

Novel coronavirus primarily spreads by respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. Secondarily, the virus spreads by contaminated surfaces and objects touched by infected individuals, such as public space surfaces, or cellphones. The routes of transmission are through the mouth, nose, and eyes. However, experts reported oral-fecal spread might also be possible. Currently, no evidence supports sexual transmission of the virus, meaning through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. However, kissing and anilingus or rimming, might be part of the sexual acts of some people. These two sexual practices, especially kissing, might spread the disease to you, if practiced with an infected individual. Also, having sex with an infected person means sharing the same room and engaging in very intimate contact, dramatically increasing your chances of getting the disease. 

Methods of prevention against COVID-19

  • Wash your hands often with water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.
  • Don't touch your mouth, nose, and eyes with your hands, especially when you are in public places.
  • Keep your distance from other people, especially from those who are sick.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Avoid close contact with people.

What is an STD?

An STD is a sexually transmitted disease that a person can spread to another person through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. STDs may be the result of pathogens that are ancient or new. For example, syphilis, a bacterial STD, is one of the oldest sexually transmitted infections in history. HIV, on the other hand, appeared during the 20th century, reaching its peak during the '80s. Although the majority of STDs spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex, some are transmittable through non-penetrative sex too, or just kissing. Herpes, HPV, and syphilis, for example, are transmittable through skin-to-skin contact, and penetration is not necessary. Recent evidence suggests that you might catch gonorrhea by kissing. Therefore, STDs do not spread only through sex, but they might have other routes of transmission too. Hepatitis B and C, for instance, spread through blood, as well. 

What are the symptoms of STDs?

Although most STDs are asymptomatic, if symptomatic, they present with some of the following symptoms and signs. Usually, these appear in more advanced stages and in cases in which STDs are left untreated. 

  • Discharge from the penis or the vagina
  • Pain or burning sensation upon urination
  • Heavy or intermittent menstrual bleeding
  • Painful sex in women and pain in the testicles in men
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Small red pimples, blisters, or ulcers in the genital and anal areas, or around them
  • Pain or itching around in the genital area and anal areas, or inner thighs
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and the eyes) or dark urine
  • Pruritus (itching)

How do STDs spread?

STDs, as their name implies, are sexually transmitted and spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. People keep spreading their STD for several reasons. Some of them do not know they have it, while others don't know how to treat it. Also, some people don't know how to prevent an STD, or how to manage it efficiently. Those at a higher risk for catching an STD are people who have multiple partners, engage in unprotected sex, and use injectable drugs by sharing needles. Also, you might be at high risk if your partner has multiple partners. Other people are automatically part of high-risk populations due to their sexual preferences, such as men who have sex with men (MSM). Finally, STDs might be of viral, bacterial, or even parasitic origin. 

Methods of prevention against STDs

To avoid catching an STD, you should follow some particular steps that will redefine your sex life. The following are some methods that could help you prevent getting an STD:

  • Do not practice unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Use a condom instead.
  • Try and be monogamous. Make sure your partner is monogamous too. If not, try to advise them to use protection. 
  • Do not use injectable drugs. If you do so, avoid sharing needles with other users.

So, can I get an STD from a COVID-19 infection?

If you have COVID-19 and your doctor told you to stay home and practice social distancing, guidelines do not suggest engaging in sexual activities, as there is the risk of spreading the infection to others. However, it is not possible to get an STD from COVID-19, because these two do not have any relation. They are two separate medical entities that have different pathophysiological mechanisms, symptoms, causes, and treatments. On the other hand, having an infection, including COVID-19, makes your immune system weaken and your organism more vulnerable to other diseases, including STIs. Therefore, if you are COVID-19-positive, follow the guidelines suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and abstain from activities that include other people. 

Can I get an STD from someone else's bed/sharing towels?