Sexually transmitted disease (STD), now known as sexually transmitted infection (STI), have been roaming the earth since the beginning of time; since humans have been having sex. Sure, some of the trends have changed through the years, but one fact remains, these infections are transmitted through sexual contact. That can include vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact.
How do you get an STI?
Having unprotected sex with someone who is infected with an STI.
There are many times the other person does not have any symptoms of lesions. Herpes is an excellent example of this. Even if there is no ulcer, the herpes virus can jump from one person to another. In fact, most infections occur when there are no lesions. Bottom line, the only to know if someone has an STI is to get tested.
From genital touching. I know we keep saying that STIs are transmitted through sex. But herpes and syphilis can be passed without having sexual intercourse.
Blood products that are contaminated can transmit HIV and Hepatitis. This includes infected needles that are shared between people.
From a pregnant human to the baby. Syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis can be vertically acquired, meaning from mom to baby. Chlamydia can also get into a baby’s eyes and cause blindness.
I'm not trying to scare you.
Right now, most of you are thinking you’ll never have sex again. But wait, there are many things you can do to prevent STIs and there are many things we can do to treat them if you get infected. We all may be divided right now regarding politics and world order, but I’m pretty sure we can agree on the fact that none of us wants an STI and would do anything to prevent getting one in the first place. Right?
How to Prevent an STI
What's the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Not getting the infection is better than trying to fix the problems afterwards. The BEST way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is not to have sex. Call me crazy. But, I’ve never seen an STI in a woman who was not sexually active. Now that I’ve said that, let’s talk about ways to prevent infection in those of us who are sexually active.
You hear that all day every day. And really, studies have been done on this and there is scientific proof that condoms prevent infections. Remember that infections can occur even with skin-to-skin contact. So the condom needs to be on even before the act of penetration or touching.
There are vaccines for HPV and Hepatitis B.
Be tested regularly
Women should be tested whenever they think there is risk for an infection. The tests are so easy to do. Usually we can test with urine, a vaginal swab, or blood work. Easy stuff.
Talk it out
How many of you talk to your partners before the heat of the moment? Ask questions. How many partners have you had? Have you ever had an STI? Have you ever been treated? Do you have any sores? As embarrassing as this may be, it’s your body...take control of your body and take care of it.
Remember this fact: Birth control does not protect you from infections. The only form of birth control that protects you is condoms.
Here’s a mantra “You want me. I want condoms.” I think I’ll make t-shirts out of this.
I know this sounds simple. But once again, there have been countless studies proving that people who have one partner (compared to those who have many partners) are less likely to get STIs. Pick one.