You seem pretty scared of catching the flu for someone who’s not remotely scared of catching STDs.
Dug up this golden oldie (but goodie) from Someecards in honor of National Condom Week. Let’s hear it for the only method of birth control that also prevents STIs! And speaking of golden, remember that just because you’re using another method of birth control doesn’t mean you should give up condoms. Doubling up=the golden ticket to safer sex.
“Honestly a lot of times your gynecologist isn’t gonna say ‘well, do you want to hear about the latest products on the market?’ They’re gonna say ‘well what do you want?’ So you almost have to go in knowing your order, and you never have seen the menu.”
This is the perfect night to troll the city for undatable alcoholics.
Anybody else have one of those Hump Days? Just remember, if you find yourself feeling frisky with someone you’re not sure you want to have around for the long haul, make sure you’re super-duper covered.
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month!
Another January, another chance to get educated about cervical cancer. Last year around this time we posted our “Smeared and cleared” Fact or Fiction to make sure everyone’s clear on exactly what a Pap smear tests for (Spoiler alert: Paps check for early signs of cervical cancer, not STIs).
New year, new video, this one from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England with the fabulous Laci Green.
A few points from the video we’d like to emphasize:
1) As Laci rightfully notes, safe sex is an important part of prevention. 99% of cervical cancer is caused by HPV, a super-common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Since HPV can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, not having sex is the only way to be 100% sure not to transmit or be exposed to the virus. If the no-sex approach doesn’t work for you, the next best thing is condoms. Dr. Robin Wallace wrote for us about doubling up with condoms and a super-effective method of birth control to make sex safer.
2) The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is another important piece of the prevention puzzle. Gardasil has already shown evidence that it may be making a difference—and research has found it won’t actually turn girls into raging trollops (phew, right?). Oh, and Gardasil is now recommended for guys, too.
3) If you do have an abnormal Pap, don’t panic. A lot of the time abnormalities will resolve themselves and there are further tests your health care provider can run to decide whether there’s cause for any concern. If an abnormality ends up being cervical cancer (which is extremely rare), the likelihood of beating it is much greater for women whose cancer was found through a Pap.
When you’re due for a Pap will depend on your age and on the results of your last Pap. Whatever your check-up status, we say seize the moment to take stock of your cervical health—make a plan for safer sex, get the HPV vaccine, set up your next Pap smear appointment, or if you’re already on top of all that, spread the word to a friend.
Thanks for climaxing quietly when we visit family.
Everybody back in their own bed and ready for New Year’s revelry?
Why HIV Stigma Has to End, ASAP
For World Aids Day this past Saturday, I decided to find out if college students today are worried about HIV. After getting mixed responses to that question from the 25 students I spoke to, I followed up by asking them if a partner (or potential partner) had ever disclosed a positive HIV status. Here’s what I heard:
Not one of those 25 students said “yes” when it came to a romantic partner. But considering that approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and 1 in 5 of them don’t know their status, it’s possible that some of those partners didn’t actually know for sure. As Michael J. Kaplan of AIDS United puts it in a Huffington Post piece for World AIDS Day, “…until we tackle the pervasive problem of HIV stigma, a problem that prevents many people from getting tested for the virus and many living with HIV from getting into life-saving care, our dream of an AIDS-free generation will remain only that.” As a person who’s grown up hearing about HIV all my life, anecdotally, I believe major part of the problem is that too many people don’t see the face of HIV when they look in the mirror.
It didn’t really hit me until I read The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive by Marvelyn Brown, a true story about how a straight black girl from Nashville, Tennessee, contracted HIV at 19 years old. It was crazy to me just how many similarities Marvelyn and I had: she had an older boyfriend she loved, with whom she had unprotected sex… The only difference? Her boyfriend had HIV.
I firmly believe that the key to getting more people to find out their status and disclose it to their partners is to let go of the stereotypes of what someone with HIV should look like. Marvelyn is a beautiful, curvy woman who’s enjoying life and doing important work around HIV/AIDS awareness (Check out the photos on her website and see for yourself). If she wasn’t an activist, would you assume she had HIV if you saw her in the street? Probably not.
We all need to face the reality of HIV/AIDS. One way to do that is through Facing AIDS, a national campaign that lets you take action by writing how YOU are facing AIDS today and uploading a picture of yourself with your words to the Facing AIDS website. My personal favorite:
By showing the many faces affected—directly or not—by HIV/AIDS, the campaign aims to reduce stigma and promote HIV testing for World AIDS Day and beyond.
What does facing AIDS look like to you?
Veralyn Williams is a Multimedia Freelance Journalist currently working in New York City. She has spent 4 years at WNYC Radio working with various departments including: Radio Rookies, Culture, News, and Freakonomincs. Also freelancing for Black Enterprise, BronxNet Television,Bedsider, and The Museum for African Art. Her independent work is featured on her website VeralynMedia.com. Through all of her endeavors she aims to give a voice to perspectives that are often forgotten in the media.