Keep Yourself Safe From Sexually Transmitted Infections

Despite the preventive measures, diagnostic tools and treatments now available, sexually transmitted infections are rising in the US. Nineteen million STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are reported each year in the US–almost half of which affect people aged 15 – 24.

A few facts:

· Chlamydia remains the #1 sexually transmitted infection reported, with over a million new US cases in 2005. Experts say that the number of unreported cases ups that stat to over two million.

· Although gonorrhea declined 74% in the US from 1975 to 1997, rates increased 5.5 % in 2006. Like chlamydia, it’s estimated that half the actual cases go unreported.

· The year 2000 brought an all-time low to the reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis. But since then, the disease is on the rise, says the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: “Between 2005 and 2006, the national P&S syphilis rate increased 13.8%…The overall increase in syphilis rates from 2005 to 2006 was driven primarily by increases among males.”

Sexually transmitted diseases affect both men and women and can be bacterial (syphilis, gonorrhea), fungal (jock itch, yeast infection), viral (hepatitis, herpes) or parasitic (lice). Depending on the disease, the impact can include infertility, genital itch/discharge, burning sensation when urinating, warts/blisters, heart/nervous system damage, fever, headaches and ultimately, death.

The good news is, your personal risk is in your hands. By knowing the facts, using appropriate prevention tools and having open and honest communication with your partner, you can reduce exposure to sexually transmitted infections. Here’s how:

Talk first, make love later – If you’re with a new partner, this conversation needs to take place before you get into the groove. This doesn’t mean detailing every sexual partner you’ve had; it means openly talking about whether either of your past activities puts you at risk.

Remember, some sexually transmitted infections can be dormant. If you’re worried, you can both get tested to know you’re starting your love life with a clean slate. In this situation, “don’t ask, don’t tell” doesn’t cut it. If there’s any doubt about initiating this conversation, ask yourself how you’d feel if your partner didn’t tell you, and you end up infected.

Use condoms – For everything, whether you’re engaging in vaginal or anal intercourse or oral sex on the man (this is where those flavored condoms


EXS Mixed Flavoured Condoms (100 Pack)
can come in handy!). For women, cover the genitals with a dental dam or piece of saran wrap.

Remember, sexually transmitted infections aren’t passed on by intercourse alone.

Monogamy – If you and your partner have that “clean slate,” monogamy is the best way to keep infections from impacting your bodies and relationship.

For more information, visit these pages:

Knowing How To Have Safe Sex Minimizes STI Fears

STD Symptoms: Get Your Facts

Paying Attention To Male Sexual Health Issues Can Keep You Ready For Love

Lesbian Sexual Health – Busting Myths To Stay Healthy And Risk-free

Sexual Health For Teens = Education and Protection

Health Benefits of Sex Make Making Love Worth It

Breast Cancer Awareness Should Be Part Of Everyone’s Health Knowledge

Is Breast Cancer Prevention Possible?

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