I realize that a lot of people don’t like labels in relationships. They want to keep things casual. One label you definitely don’t want is an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). If you are keeping things casual in your relationships, then you are more likely having more sexual partners. This increases your risk to become infected with an STI.
The statistics say that 1 out of every 2 people under 25 will become infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Most of those people don’t even know they are infected because they aren’t experiencing any symptoms. However, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, you could still be passing along the infection to others unknowingly.
The great thing is many STI’s can be cured though antibiotics. The bad thing is that some STI’s are incurable. So where can you get tested? You can visit the GYT (Get Yourself Tested) website or the Planned Parenthood website to find a local STD testing center. With so many places to go to get tested, there really is no excuse not to know if you are sexually healthy or not.
To prevent STI’s you need to know your facts. Do your research and educate yourself. Look up info on different STI’s. There is a page on the Center for Disease Control’s website that can give you a lot of information fast. You can look up info on Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, HPV, HIV & AIDS, Trichomoniasis, and other STI’s.
After knowing the facts, start talking about it. Ask your potential sex partners if they’ve ever been tested. Talk about the fact that you’ve gotten tested. Spread the word so others will become more aware and open about it as well. Continue to get tested if you continue to have sex with new people.
Use protection!!! Condoms come in all sizes, colors, flavors, and textures. There is no excuse for not being prepared. Most college campuses give away free condoms in their Wellness Centers or in their Peer Education Programs. Condoms can be sexy and fun if you get creative with them. Figure out new ways to put them on yourself or your partner. Practicing to get the technique right can also be a lot of fun. Experiment with different textures and flavors to mix it up a bit.
Also, make sure to use condoms while having oral sex. Unfortunately oral cancers have increased dramatically since the 1980’s due to a form of HPV that can be spread to the throat from oral sexual contact. Do not think oral sex is safer than vaginal or anal sex. It is NOT! If you don’t have a dental dam to use during oral sex, you can cut a condom length wise and use that as a barrier. Make sure to tell your health care provider if you’ve had unprotected oral sex so you can be tested for HPV. Sometimes HPV will work itself out of your system on its own, but sometimes it develops into cancer. There are also vaccinations for HPV to help prevent cervical or oral cancer.
Even if you practice safe sex every time, there is no 100% guarantee against STI’s except abstinence. Even if you are being safe, remember to get tested! You not only want to protect yourself, you want to be able to protect others! Be Safe and Be Smart!!
A great blog to read for more info on safe sex is Smart, Safe and Sexy