6. HIV and other STDs can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Rubbing below-the- belt areas against each other when you’re naked is also a risk. An estimated 19 million new infections occur each year in the United States, almost half of them among young people aged 15 to 24.4 Unless you know that you and your partner are STD-free and mutually monogamous, reduce your risk by using a latex or polyurethane condom before any genital contact. Though it may be awkward at first, use a condom or dental dam (a sheath, placed over the vulva or anal opening, that can be purchased at sex shops or online sex-toy stores) during oral action. D.I.Y. Dental Dam: If you don’t have a dental dam within reach, you can easily make one from a non-lubricated condom. Take a condom out of the package, unroll it completely, and cut off each end (the tip and the rim) with scissors. Carefully place one of the blades of the scissor in the tubular shape and cut from one open end to the other. When you’re done, you’ll have a square or rectangular sheath to put in place before the first lick.
7. It’s possible to get genital herpes if your partner has a cold sore or fever blister, and vice versa. There are two types of herpes viruses: HSV-1, which usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2, which generally causes genital herpes. But, the tricky fact about this disease is that it’s possible to get HSV-1 on the genital area and HSV-2 on the mouth; all it takes for transmission is direct skin-to-skin contact with the virus. Herpes is very common since most people have the antibody in their blood stream. Some people get outbreaks rather often; others might have only had one obvious infection, and yet there are also people that are unaware that they have been infected because they never had any symptoms. Though it’s believed that herpes can be contracted whether or not symptoms are present, try not to live in fear. Reduce the risk and avoid physical contact if you or your partner knows that an outbreak is coming on; when a herpes sore, blister, or cut is present; and until the infected area is fully healed.
8. “Just for a minute” may feel good in the heat of the moment, but it should be skipped. Unprotected sex can be risky. Maybe you’re not concerned about pregnancy because you’re using hormonal contraceptives (such as birth-control pills, Depo-Provera, NuvaRing, or the Ortho Evra Patch), a barrier method (including a Diaphragm, Cervical Cap, Lea’s Shield, or the Today Sponge), or an IUD. What you might not realize, however, is that these methods don’t reduce the possibility of STD transmission (from skin-to-skin contact, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculatory fluid, and semen) if you or your partner is infected. So, be sure to use a new latex or polyurethane condom correctly, from start to finish, every time you have sex.
9. Before you get tested for STDs, time needs to pass after your last risky encounter for the test to be accurate. Freaking out that you might have been exposed to an STD after your hot and heavy hook-up? Though some STDs can be diagnosed within a week, others require that you wait for window periods to elapse before you can find out if you’ve been infected.
10. Women can get pregnant if they have unprotected sex during their period. The number of days in a female’s menstrual cycle can vary from month to month. It can therefore be difficult to know when she’ll ovulate. And since stress, eating habits, exercise, and other factors can all affect a cycle, it’s possible to ovulate while menstruating or soon after. Since sperm can live for five to seven days inside her body, if an egg is released when his sperm are alive and swimming inside her reproductive tract, a pregnancy can occur.
Check out these CherryTV video clips to learn more about STDs and testing (http://cherrytv.com/video-experts/bio/amy-levine).
Curable STDs Non-Curable STDs STD Testing Credible Sources for More Sexuality Information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/std/healthcomm/the-facts.htm Provides information and brochures about common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They also have a 24-hour hotline (800-CDC-INFO). T
EC. Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2 Provides support to help both family and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people, and GLBT people themselves.
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network http://www.rainn.org/ Operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) that provides free, confidential calling.
Citations: 1. http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
© 2010 Amy Levine, www.sexedsolutions.com