Must-Know Facts About STIsMar 05, 2023
There is really too much to cover in depth about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), so we will focus on the incurable conditions from which you must protect yourself and your partners. The four incurable sexually transmitted infectious diseases are HIV, HPV, Herpes, and Hepatitis. This is a whole other 4-H club...
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
Once considered a death sentence, treatment has come a long way since HIV was discovered in the '80s. The chance of transmission is exceptionally high during anal intercourse and less with vaginal penetration. Condom use is truly the best protection, although some couples may develop relationships where they only have unprotected sex with each other. In any event, couples and singles generally think of HIV when they put on a condom because once you have HIV, you will always have it. There might be vaccines that may become available for players at high risk (IV drug users, sex workers, and bareback (no condom users). Moderna launched an HIV vaccine trial in January of 2022, so hopefully, we will see a vaccine sometime soon.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
Human papillomavirus is associated with genital warts, cervical cancer, and anal cancer and is considered an epidemic in North America. Protecting yourself is possible by obtaining three vaccinations against this virus. Sue recommends that anyone sexually active in a non-monogamous relationship receives these shots.
There are six kinds of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, plus a few more. You can get vaccinated for A & B, but not C. All are transmittable through contact, and all affect the liver. In many cases, vaccines for sexual health may be covered by your insurance plan. Consider going to a sexual health clinic if you are too shy to speak to your doctor. Hepatitis B & C can be spread through sexual contact and are the most common. Hepatitis A infections can resolve on their own but are preventable with immunization. They are often transmitted through water and undercooked food.
Herpes is a very common virus and is often dormant, so many don’t realize that they have it. The initial outbreak can be quite painful, and you will see erosions in the mucous membranes. Once that initial outbreak is over, you could have another outbreak or outbreaks when your immune system is vulnerable. There are prescriptions for antivirals that can be used in treatment or prevention (Valtrex), and it is generally believed that unless you have a lesion, you are unlikely to transmit the virus to another person. However, another point of view is that asymptomatic viral transmission is possible. This is another reason condoms can be insurance against a virus unexpectedly ruining your day. That said, if the lesion is not on the penis or in the vagina, the transmission will be possible with or without a condom.
The only surefire way to avoid STDs and STIs is to abstain from sex with others. If limiting your sex life to masturbation isn't the best option, have a conversation with your new partner to determine something of their sexual health history. If you have confidence before sex, take the time to familiarize yourself by looking and touching the perineal regions (nether regions) and see if you see anything unusual. If you see nothing unusual, then condom up routinely but ask for testing if you have sex without protection.
While some people may not volunteer their sexual health history, there's a tradition of being somewhat honest in the lifestyle when direct questions are asked. Ask those questions, listen carefully to the way they are answered, and then do your best to check and protect yourself. If you are concerned, avoid high-transmission sexual activities like anal intercourse, which are, by their nature, more likely to transmit infection. Of course, it always helps to get to know people first before you fuck them, and by all means, getting references is also very helpful. Many people in the lifestyle regularly get tested, and they ask for their partners to be tested as well. Finally, drunken sex where your defenses are down, and your judgment is questionable, is probably the worst plan. Don't have sex drunk or stoned because you're unlikely to be in a condition to protect yourself from making mistakes.
The lifestyle has so many great things to enjoy, so don't ruin your experience by not taking precautions and not thinking clearly. Take a moment before you have sex with a stranger. Are you being safe?