As a sexually active adult, protecting yourself against STD’s should be one of your top priorities. Although many sexually transmitted illnesses can be cleared with a simple course of antibiotics, a number of others cannot. In this day in age, as in many others, knowing how to protect yourself can be a matter of life and death. Following are a few, little-known facts about STD’s that all sexually active people should know.
The Wrong Lubricants Can Cause Condoms To Break
Even diligent condom users are at risk of either transmitting or sustaining infection if the wrong protection strategies are used. Condoms should fit snugly and they should not be expired, pre-opened, dried out, or otherwise in a less than stellar condition. One of the most important things to know about condoms, however, is that they are also susceptible to rupture whenever they are exposed to petroleum-based lubricants. As such, when purchasing prophylactics, make sure to invest in a proper, water-based lubricant as well. A small amount of this same solution can be added to the tip of condoms before putting them on, in order to increase sensation and pleasure for the condom user.
Infected Partners Should Not Have Unprotected Sex
If you have an incurable, viral illness such as herpes or HIV, you and your partner should not engage in unprotected sex even if you have both already been diagnosed with the same illness. This can actually cause these ailments to mutate, thereby making them evermore virulent. Every time the virus is reintroduced into the body, it becomes stronger. This is especially true of HIV and thus, two partners with HIV should never have unprotected sex. Couples that have both been diagnosed with herpes should never engage in unprotected activities when either of them has active lesions or outbreaks.
Many STDs Do Not Have Noticeable Symptoms
Some of the most dangerous STDs can be present in the body for months or even years without exhibiting any noticeable symptoms whatsoever. Thus, you should never wait until you have a fever, visible blisters or sores, foul-smelling discharge, abdominal cramping or pain, before reaching out for reproductive health services. All sexually active adults should receive a battery of STD tests at least twice each year. Depending upon how high-risk your sexual activities are, this testing may need to be performed more frequently. During the testing process, you can also talk with your doctor about some of the latest and most innovative strategies for mitigating the risks of being sexually active in the modern world. Bear in mind that it is never enough to assume that you are safe simply because you are in a committed and monogamous relationship. Even within these unions, each partner has a sexual past and each person could be guilty of engaging in high-risk behaviors outside of the relationship.
Untreated STDs Can Affect Your Ability To Reproduce
In addition to being uncomfortable and communicable, STDs that are left untreated can also have a lasting impact on your ability to naturally reproduce. Many bacterial infections can actually cause scar tissues to form in the uterus and urethra that affect the processes associated with conception. Thus, if you hope to one day have children, this is added incentive to get tested regularly and to encourage your partner to do so as well.
Oral Sex Is Just As High Risk As Vaginal And Anal Sex
Oral sex is often overlooked in people’s efforts to protect themselves. This, however, is also a sure way to pass on illnesses such as HPV, herpes, HIV, chlamydia, and more. Ultimately, any bacteria or virus that will thrive in the warm and moist environment of the anus or vaginal canal, can additionally thrive in the mouth. This makes it important to become a regular user of dental dams and other protective measures when engaging in cunnilingus or fellatio.
Take All Medications Until The Course Is Complete
One of the worst things that people can do when having their STD’s treated is to stop taking their antibiotics as soon as their symptoms disappear. If the harmful microorganisms responsible for these illnesses do not die off entirely, the infection can recur. Moreover, this will be a new strain of virus or bacteria and one that is more resistant to the initial treatment. As such, patients should always finish all pills that their doctors have prescribed unless otherwise advised by the treating physician. It is also important to note that if an antibiotic has not caused symptoms to abate after one week of use, or if symptoms start to worsen, you should contact the doctor in charge of your treatment right away.