5 Handy Facts for STD Awareness Month
When we think of April, two things come to mind—rain and STD Awareness Month (not necessarily in that order). We recommend an umbrella (or a romantic spirit) for the first and our friends over at GYT for the latter. You’ve probably heard the stat—one in two people will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by age 25, and most of them won’t know it. The GYT campaign aims to reduce the spread of STDs (which, BTW, we at Bedsider refer to as STIs for sexually transmitted infections) among young people first through information (and prevention), then through testing and treatment as needed. On their site you can find a testing center, get tips on talking to your partner and your provider, and read about STI prevention, a.k.a. condoms. You should head on over there right after you check out these 5 handy facts we put together for your STI-awareness-raising arsenal.
1) Going for your routine pap smear/check up is really important, but don’t assume because everything is normal with your pap that you’re in the clear for STIs. Generally you have to ask to be screened for any STI you’re concerned about. (And if you’re nervous about bringing up sex with your doctor, we’ve got tips for making that less awkward, too.)
2) HPV is really, really common. Still, there are things you can do to reduce your odds of getting it like getting vaccinated, being selective in terms of partners, and using condoms. Screening to make sure you don’t have it, or to keep an eye on it if you do, is also super important.
3) We hear nasty rumors sometimes about the pill causing infertility, but science has shown that to be the stuff of myth. Actually, if you’re worried about your fertility—current or future—the best thing you can do is get screened for STIs. Take Chlamydia, for example—somewhere in the neighborhood of three million Americans are infected with it each year. STIs like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can cause scarring in the tubes connecting your ovaries and uterus and make it hard to get pregnant later.
4) Some STIs don’t have any symptoms, so you can’t always tell if you (or someone you want to sleep with) have one. Do you see where we’re going with this?
5) Oral sex is not a free pass. Or rather—oh, puns!—it can be a free pass to STI transmission. So always use a condom or a dental dam for oral sex if you don’t know your partner’s status.
Speaking of knowing your partner’s status, there is actually (would we joke about this?) an app for that. In fact, we know of at least two—Qpid.me and ChecMate—that help make sharing your status easier.
If this is all old news for you, pass it on to a friend. Don’t feel like scrolling up? Here’s that GYT link again. And check back here for our next Method Monday—we’ll be posting about that magic method that protects against both pregnancy and STIs…condoms.