Tuesday the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that sexually transmitted infections (STIs), syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, have risen for the fourth year in a row in regards to reported cases during the National STD Prevention Conference. The CDC has urged our government to declare a public health crisis, but we can work to change that if we all just practice safe sex! So let’s chat about that!
First, let’s discuss STIs!
Chlamydia is the most common STI and can affect everyone. Chlamydia is spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex and not everyone shows symptoms when they have contracted it. The next one up is gonorrhea and a common misconception around gonorrhea is that it is an oral STI. FALSE! Gonorrhea can be contracted by anyone through vaginal, anal AND oral sex. The last STI on the rise is syphilis. Syphilis has 4 stages and if not treated there can be serious health problems. It is contracted through, yep you guessed it, vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Now let’s talk about prevention!
STIs are 99.99% preventable as long as preventative measures are taken. The first step in that is using a barrier method during sex, all sex — vaginal penetration, anal penetration, fellatio, cunnilingus, and anilingus. There are three types of barrier methods that can be used depending on the type of sex in which you are participating.
The external condom goes on the penis and should be used for any penetrative sex where the penis enters an opening and fellatio. The internal condom can be used in place of the male condom for any sex that penetrates the vagina. The last barrier method is the dental dam, which should be used for all oral sexual acts. If you are unsure of how to use any of those barriers, don’t worry I would never leave you high and dry. Here are some video references.
Now we all have had those interactions where someone has a million and one excuses as to why protection shouldn’t be used. Here’s every reason why none of those excuses are valid for not using prevention:
I’m too big to wear a condom on my penis.
Please enjoy this video that demonstrates how false that statement is.
I’m allergic to latex.
I can’t feel anything when I wear a condom.
So again I refer you to Skyn condoms. Feels like nothing’s there.
I can’t use my favorite lube with condoms.
I can’t afford to buy condoms.
There are many resources available where you can get condoms for free, including your local LGBTQ center.
Basically any excuse your given there’s an alternative, so tell them to save their excuses. And then the next step to prevent the spread of STIs is to routinely get tested. Doesn’t matter if you have one or multiple partners it is recommended that you get tested every three months. If you do participate in unprotected sex it is suggested that you get tested after the event, but please know that most STIs don’t show up on tests until up to 2 weeks after the activity occurred. If you’re not sure where you can go to get testing check out the CDC website for free testing locations near you!