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Posts tagged "STIs"

plannedparenthoodsp:

This month, we want you to do one of the most important (and simplest) things you can do to protect your health:  get tested for STDs.  Getting tested is a basic part of staying healthy and taking control of your sex life.  Make an appointment to get a quick, easy, and painless STD test today: http://p.ppfa.org/Oewvsn

This comes up A LOT at Scarleteen, so just a reminder:

If you think — or are saying to others — things like that if you are using a method or methods of contraception, then there is no risk of pregnancy, or if you are either using safer sex practices, or aren’t, but you and partners have not had previous sexual partners, or have but have recently been tested for all the STIs you each can with negative results that there is no risk of STIs?

Please understand that is false.

If and when we are engaging in the activities — or have been made part of them unwillingly via abuse or assault — that pose those risks, there will always be SOME level of risk there still, including when we are using things, like birth control, latex/nonlatex barriers and testing, to reduce those risks. 

Those things reduce risks (sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot, depending on what all we are using and how well we are doing so): they do not remove them.

If you only feel comfortable with NO risk of these things — and it’s okay if you don’t; most people will choose to take some level of risk of them because they can handle that and want to have the kinds of sex that present those risks — then you have to choose not to engage in those activities. At all. 

If you want reduced risks of either or both of those things, then you have to use things and practices that reduce those risks.  If you want to engage in those activities with the lowest risks you can have, then you need to do things like using dual contraception, including one highly effective method, and be really serious about safer sex — using barriers all the time and for all the activities that pose those risks, always keeping up with testing and insisting partners do, too.

Again, there is no one right set of choices here: this is about what you are yours want and feel most comfortable with now and in the long-term. 

But just so we all understand, there is no, for example, penis-in-vagina intercourse that poses NO risk of pregnancy (when the people involved have bodies capable of reproduction) or STIs, even with contraception and safer sex practices to the letter. Just like we can’t say we are going to go out and have no risk of catching a cold interacting with other people during cold season because we are washing our hands.

If NO RISK — none at all — is what you want or need for yourself, then you will need to choose not to engage in the activities that present those risks at all.

(And of course, if you want to find out how to reduce these risks with any activity, either of pregnancy or STIs, or want help figuring out what you even want and need around all this in the first place, we’re always available at Scarleteen with both the information on all of that and to talk with you about it, if you’d like.)

shafp:

The Internet is brimming with contradictory claims about sexual health, and you don’t know what to believe. Your friends give you advice, but you’re not sure if it sounds right. To make things worse, you might not have had evidence-based, medically accurate sex education in your school. In this edition of our STD Awareness series, we’ll take on a few myths about sexually transmitted diseases to help you sort fact from fiction.

1 MYTH: You can tell if someone has an STD by looking at them.
You might expect that if someone has an STD, their genitals would have blisters, warts, or noticeable discharge. But your partner looks fine, so you might think there’s no need to ask when his or her last STD test was.

However, while many people with STDs do have visible symptoms, they’re the exception rather than the rule. For example, three out of four women and half of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. Herpes is often spread when there are no symptoms present. Someone can be infected with HIV — and capable of transmitting it to others — and go years without showing any signs. A quick visual inspection can’t tell you very much about someone’s STD status.

2 MYTH: You can’t get an STD from oral sex.
While it is generally true that oral sex presents less of a risk for contracting STDs, this risk is not trivial. Most STDs can be passed along by oral sex, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV. You can reduce your risk by using barrier methods like condoms and dental dams consistently and correctly.

3 MYTH: Condoms can’t prevent the spread of HIV.
Many proponents of abstinence-only education state that condoms don’t protect against HIV, claiming that latex condoms have holes that are large enough for viruses to pass through. This claim isn’t backed by evidence. An intact latex condom dramatically reduces your risk of being exposed to sexually transmitted viruses such as HIV. (It is true that a lambskin condom does not provide adequate protection against HIV.) Continue reading

(via fuckyeahsexeducation)

outforhealth:

plannedparenthoodla:

Happy Fact Friday! Talking about STD prevention and treatment is important, but what is my bf/gf/partner tells me they have an STD?
Get Yourself Tested reminds us to Get Yourself Talking!
“If your partner reveals that he/she has (or has had) an STD, don’t jump to conclusions. Be supportive of whatever your partner does say and recognize that it was probably difficult for your partner to share. You should both still get tested and ask while at the health center about treatment and prevention options.”- GYT  http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/talk/

^What they said.

outforhealth:

plannedparenthoodla:

Happy Fact Friday! Talking about STD prevention and treatment is important, but what is my bf/gf/partner tells me they have an STD?

Get Yourself Tested reminds us to Get Yourself Talking!

“If your partner reveals that he/she has (or has had) an STD, don’t jump to conclusions. Be supportive of whatever your partner does say and recognize that it was probably difficult for your partner to share. You should both still get tested and ask while at the health center about treatment and prevention options.”- GYT  http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/talk/

^What they said.

(via fuckyeahsexeducation)

plannedparenthood:

image

Someone asked us:

Hello! How often should I get a STD/HIV test?

It really depends on your personal risk factors (like if you’ve had a new sexual partner since you were last tested and if you use protection, like condoms). Take our quiz and find out if you…

plannedparenthoodla:

As you’re getting ready for the weekend, it’s time for a little Fact Friday!

If someone is sexually active, it is recommended to get tested for STDs every 6 months. If you haven’t been tested yet, it’s time to GYT! Find a health center near you: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/

(via fuckyeahsexeducation)

anonymous asks:

Do coldsores mean that you have Herpes? My friend told me that coldsores were a sign of an STI. I had my first coldsore when I was 9 years old and I was definately not sexually active. I haven’t had one since but I am afraid that I might be carrying Herpes. I know lots of people who get coldsores on a regular basis and I just don’t understand how all these people could have Herpes. I know that it is very contagious. Does having this mean that you can never have sex? Can you clarify for me? Thanks a bunch!

Heather Corinna replies:

Yes, coldsores are the oral herpes virus, or HSV-I. Your friend has it right.

Understand that most people do not contract oral herpes sexually, but through casual contact, and the majority of people with oral herpes contract it in childhood, just by doing things like sharing glasses with family members who also have oral herpes, or getting a smooch on the lips from your Aunt Myrtle who just spaced out being careful when she was about to get a sore, or didn’t know she should be. This is the big why in terms of why and how so many people have oral herpes: it’s very contagious, and it’s very easy to contract through daily things a lot of people just don’t even think about. In high school, I thought myself very continental and made a habit of kissing friends on the cheek or near the mouth as a routine greeting (As in, "Hello, darlings! Kisskiss!"): lo and behold, when I got mono, before I even knew I’d had it, I gave it to very nearly my entire junior class (mind, my class was only 22 people, but still). If I had had oral herpes, I could have given it to everyone the same way, just through friendly, nonsexual affection.

Having oral herpes doesn’t mean you can never have sex, or that you can never make out with someone. You just have to be mindful and careful.

Read the rest here

  • You asking someone if they have a sexually transmitted infection and them saying no
  • Your partners having asked previous partners if they had STIs
  • Someone telling you they’re “clean,” especially someone who has never had any testing done, or isn’t current with their tests
  • Using condoms sometimes, but not always
  • Putting condoms on after genital contact begins, or only before ejaculation or orgasm
  • Sharing sex toys without covering them with a condom or boiling them before or after use
  • Not doing anything at all for prevention, because everyone’s previous partners said they were virgins
  • Having pap smears be the only testing anyone is getting
  • Having an HIV or Hepatitis screen during blood donation be the only testing someone had had
  • Avoiding any vaginal intercourse, but having unprotected oral or anal sex
  • Giving a partner oral sex but not swallowing their ejaculate
  • Not having intercourse, per se, but rubbing genitals directly together without clothing on or latex barriers
  • Having had the HPV vaccine, but not using barriers
  • Using withdrawal (“pulling out”) for vaginal or anal intercourse
  • Hormonal methods of contraception: they protect against pregnancy, but not against STIs
  • Being “virgins,” particularly if that means either person having had no partners for intercourse before, but having had them for other kinds of sex, like oral sex
  • Having someone be your first partner, or being theirs, but one of you has had sexual partners before
  • Being a certain age
  • Being married or engaged
  • Being lesbian and/or only having slept with women
  • Being serially monogamous: in other words, not having had what you consider any casual sex partners, but still having had more than one partner and just moving relationship to relationship
  • Being in love with or loving someone
  • Looking at your genitals and those of your partner and seeing nothing unusual
  • Using condoms or other barriers past their expiry dates
  • Washing genitals before and/or after sex or urinating before and/or after sex, but not using barriers
  • Someone or yourself only having had one previous partner, only two previous partners, only five previous partners, or any other arbitrary number of previous partners
  • Being a “good girl” or a “good guy”
  • Being a member of a certain economic class, race, sexual orientation, size, shape or gender

If and when we want to reduce the risks of STIs as much as possible, while still engaging in sex, then:

Safer Sex Is:

  • Correct, consistent (always, not just some of the time) use of latex barriers (condoms and other barriers) on body parts or toys for any kind of vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • Being mutually sexually exclusive: that is, both you and your partners only have sex with each other
  • Regular testing for STIs — all you can be tested for, not just one or two — by you and your partner

Read the rest at Scarleteen here.

(P.S.  When we say “safer sex,” we use that term as it was originally developed and intended, to describe the choices and practices to help reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, not to describe birth control or contraception. When we’re talking about those things, we’ll say birth control or contraception.)