There is a myriad of important decisions that we must make and knowledge that we must possess to be smart and safe as it relates to our sexual health. Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise and you can easily get them by being careless. Approximately fifteen million cases of sexually transmitted infection (STIs) are reported yearly in the United States alone.
Also called venereal disease, STIs are infections that can be acquired and transferred through sexual contact. Viruses are transmitted by having the blood and/or bodily fluid of an affected person come in contact with any break on the skin and into the bloodstream, like in a wound. If left untreated, STIs can have severe consequences, especially in women. It may cause infertility, and at times even death.
Common STIs include:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
Of note, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a condition that women may experience that is caused by infections with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. It can affect the upper genital tract and reproductive organs including the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. In addition to the typical symptoms of a Chlamydia or Gonorrhea infection, you may experience abdominal pain. PID must be treated with antibiotics (often in a hospital setting) to avoid complications like infertility.
You can’t always look at someone and tell that they have an STI so it’s important that you ALWAYS protect yourself, and condoms are a great way to do just that. The male condom works by forming a barrier to prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg cell, at the same time, it prevents skin-to-skin friction between the penis and the vaginal wall and its mucus lining. It thereby prevents direct contact with any vaginal secretion. This has proven most beneficial for people who engage in casual sex or who have multiple sexual partners.