Do you know that you can reduce your chances of catching an STD and still have an amazing sex life? Sex is not supposed to be a terrifying practice. In fact, if done properly, it should make both partners feel the exact opposite of terrifying. Still, the threat of catching sexually transmitted diseases is good enough to make an individual keep away from having a sex life. As a result, some just prefer not to have sex at all. After all, this happens to be the only foolproof approach to prevent getting STDs.
But, wait! Let’s get real! You should not let the possibility of catching sexually transmitted diseases scare you off from having intimidating moments with your partner. While some of the STDs are harder to contract compared to others, staying safe is perhaps a matter of being vigilant enough and using condoms to ensure you have protected sex.
The unfortunate aspect of STD ‘learning’ is that it generally focuses on specific details: symptoms, treatments and worst-case scenarios. Most of the times, real-time probabilities and experiences are absent. Down-to-earth assistance on how these details should affect your behavior is generally glossed over – telling the patient to abstain from having sexual activity and to use condoms.
This makes people paranoid and also leads to the development of serious social stigmas.
STDs are complicated. However, it is imperative to learn about them to completely understand what actually causes them, the symptoms, and possible medications to treat them effectively. Other than that, it is also crucial to learn about means that help an individual to prevent contracting sexually transmitted infections in the first place.
Whether you have been dating around or are already in a monogamous relationship, there are several different precautions you can take to keep not only yourself but your partner healthy, as well.
It is Important to Talk to Your Partner
There is no set of instructions or manual available on how you should talk about sexually transmitted diseases with your partner. It is quite awkward for you at first. However, you already know what is going to be more awkward than asking them about Chlamydia – or catching Chlamydia!
Women’s health experts state that millennials are a lot more accustomed to using condoms to ensure they have protected sex and prefer to have ‘STD conversations’ before jumping into the bed.
Stay Safe and Protected
As mentioned earlier, the only way to assure you will not catch an STD is to not have sex. However, there are some alternatives for you to consider.
Do take into account the significance of safe-sex practices. The fact is condoms can greatly help prevent some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases – though it is still not a guarantee.
It is a fact – condoms are not an ironclad approach to stay safe, especially if you are using the lambskin type, which is only good enough to prevent pregnancy. However, the chances of staying protected with polyurethane and latex condoms are quite high.
Proper use of condoms can greatly help prevent catching HIV, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia. Herpes, on the other hand, is contracted via skin-to-skin contact and can even circumvent the latex barrier of a condom.
The most terrifying aspect is that most men do not show any symptoms, and there is no test to know if men actually carry HPV. This is something that separates HPV from harder-to-catch STDs such as HIV. HPV may spread easily while using a condom, making protected, anal, vaginal or even oral sex just as unsafe and risky.
Are There Any Other Viable Forms of Protection?
You must be wondering if there are any other viable forms of protection you should know about. Well, despite what some people consider, douching does not really protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Same goes for urinating after an individual had sex, showering, or opting for Plan B. A female condom proves to be 95 percent effective if used properly. Hence, there is no reason for you to skip this safety approach even if penises are not involved.
Getting Screened For STDs
Many people find it embarrassing when they have to request their physicians to get a test for STDs, but believe it or not, doctors have seen it all! Some of them are even working their best to change the process so that the patients can explicitly say no to getting screened rather than the other way around. This makes the ‘uncomfortable questioning’ practice keep away for sure!
Some of the healthcare experts and some in the CDC are trying for a more universal approach to Chlamydia. So that when a patient shows up for her annual exam, they just go through a test if they are in the targeted population, which is under 25 years of age.
However, until this practice becomes a standard worldwide, it is on you to ask your doctor. The CDC recommends getting screened at least once a year, but like most other things in the realm of sexuality, it is entirely up to you!
Doctors generally leave it to their patients. However, they suggest that whenever you are ending a relationship or are thinking about starting a new one, it is not a bad idea to get screened. Same goes if you suspect that you were being cheated on. It is imperative that you be honest with your own self and get yourself tested!
Some of the sexually transmitted diseases are easier to screen for: Trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia only require a urine sample or swab of the genital area. Herpes, HIV, and syphilis can be diagnosed with a blood examination. And there are some other sexually transmitted infections that have visible symptoms, such as herpes rash or bumps can occasionally be diagnosed right away.
Where to Get Yourself Screened For STDs
Where do you get yourself tested for STDs? This is a frequently asked question by all those who have a fear of catching STIs. You may consider browsing through the Web to learn more about the free or nearly free testing sites, which can be found on the CDC’s portal.
Likewise, screening information is generally accessible on your local health department’s website. If you are in the United States, you will find Miami, Chicago, L.A., NYC, and Houston, all offering STD testing services at multiple locations.
Is Anyone Going To Find Out? Will Others Label Me If They Know?
Are you scared of the fact that people around will find out if you have contracted an STD? Well, the fact is, confidentiality goes hand in hand with STD screening.
If the patient is a teenager who is under their parent’s insurance, usually ask, ‘Will my parents get to know?’ or ‘Will others label me if they find out?’
The fact is – most of the time no one will get to know about your condition except you, your physician, and your partner, even if you are covered on your parent’s insurance. However, laws and regulations do vary from state to state. It is only Iowa State that requires doctors to notify parents in case a minor has a positive HIV result. In some other states, doctors may inform parents, though, they are not needed to. As soon as you are over 18, you are completely on your own.
What if you have contracted an STD?
First and foremost, do not panic! Not every sexually transmitted infection diagnosis is the end of the world. STDs do make it easier to catch HIV, which can further lead to serious health complications if not treated properly. However, several other STDs like gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and syphilis can be cured with the help of antibiotics.
HPV, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. Some strains do clear up on their own; others can cause anal or cervical cancer. Though the fact is more than 80 million U.S. citizens are currently infected with HPV, which makes it almost unavoidable. Fortunately, there are now vaccines available that help protects against the strains that commonly cause genital warts and cancer.
HIV is also quite hard to contract. Earlier people believed that HIV could be easily contracted via sharing gum, kissing, and getting tattooed, but today people know that none of it is true. If you do catch HIV virus, or you know someone who already has it, it is possible for them to still have great sex life by using a combination of different precautionary tools like condoms, as well as, PrEP – a preventive medication for people who are at high risk of getting HIV.
Nearly 40 different states allow for an expedited partner therapy, which is a way to treat an STD-positive individual along with their partner, without having to screen the partner. This practice is currently only allowed for Chlamydia and gonorrhea, but it definitely helps!
If an individual is STD positive, they need to put their partner on the line. They will be treated with antibiotics, most of the time, immediately. There are no further appointments, no added embarrassment at all!