Let's talk STI's
Many people with an STI don’t actually know they have one. Scarily about 50 per cent of men and an astonishingly 80 per cent of women who have Chlamydia do not experience any symptoms! The only way to know for sure is to be checked. This is especially important if you have a new partner or have recently had multiple partners.
Prevention is always better than a cure
Simple yet easy ways to avoid getting a sexually transmitted infection or STI.
Always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, discharge, or other symptoms.
- Use latex condoms or femidoms every time you have sex. If you use a lubricant, make sure it’s water-based or silicon-based. Oil-based lubricants like baby oil damage latex. If you’re not sure, buy a condom that’s already lubricated. Use them for the entire sex act including oral sex.
- Condoms do not give 100% protection from all STI’s. For example, it is possible to contract STI’s from oral sex. (We discuss this topic in full later)
However, they are extremely effective if used properly. Learn how to use condoms correctly
- It was once thought that using condoms with nonoxynol-9 helped to prevent STDs by killing the organisms that can cause disease. Research shows that doing so also irritates a woman’s vagina and cervix and may increase the risk of an STD infection. Current recommendations are to avoid using condoms with nonoxynol-9. Although many manufacturers have stopped producing condoms with nonoxynol-9, there are still some who haven’t.
- Remember, the only time unprotected sex is considered safe, is if you and your partner have sex only with each other, and it’s been at least six months since you each tested negative for STIs. Why six months? That’s because of the incubation period of certain STI’s, more on these later. A much more drastic measure but 100 per cent effective is to not have sex at all!
Don’t Ignore Oral Sex
You might not know it but STI’s can be contracted from oral sex. However, using barrier methods such as dental dams or condoms can greatly reduce your chances.
The following is a list of STI’s that can be contracted through oral sex:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts (which are caused by HPV)
- Hepatitis A
- Oral herpes
Receiving or performing unprotected oral sex puts you at risk of contracting these STIs.