“Got drunk got high then I took a piss. I’m like… Aww shit! Knowing that it’s syphilis I got scary, ‘cause every pee drop was hotter than curry!” –Redman, The Burning Flesh
Practicing safety is an essential part of a healthy sex life, and the concept spans far past poor Redman’s syphilis. Some things to keep in mind when practicing safe sex specifically around sexually transmitted diseases and infection.
The highest rates of new cases of HIV diagnoses are in youth aged 13-24. While the disease has a cultural history of association with white gay males, HIV does not discriminate. Anyone can get HIV through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. In 2010, black male youth accounted for over half the new cases of HIV diagnoses in America. Hispanic youth followed closely at 20%. Black women have the highest contraction rates of HIV, closely followed by Hispanic women. If you have been exposed to HIV, or are unsure if you have been, get tested right away. The most accurate window of time for HIV testing is 12 weeks after exposure, but early detection can assist. While you’re waiting for your test results practice safe sex religiously. Some symptoms to look out for are fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, sore throat, rash, and fatigue. If you have been diagnosed with HIV, talk to a physician about your options. There are plenty of ways to have a normal, healthy sex life after diagnosis if you take the proper precautions.
The most common sexually transmitted infection is Human papillomavirus (HPV.) You might recall a Gardasil campaign a few years ago which discussed HPV’s relationship to cervical cancer. According to the CDC, HPV is so common almost all sexually active people will get it at some point or another. HPV can be spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. You can get HPV even if you’ve only had sex with one person, and symptoms may not show up for years. Some symptoms include genital warts—as a general rule, any time any bumps show up you need to wrap it up and high-tail it to the doctor’s office immediately. There is an HPV vaccination given in three shots over six months. Both men and women can contract HPV and get cancer from it, so be sure to ask your physician about testing and prevention. HPV can be treated with prescription meds.
Symptoms usually start 1-3 weeks after exposure, but you may not show signs. Not showing signs doesn’t mean you are healthy, though. Some symptoms include painful urination, lower abdominal pain, discharge in men and women, pain during sexual intercourse in women, bleeding between periods in women, and testicular pain in men. Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms usually appear ten days after exposure, but you may not show signs. Not showing signs doesn’t mean you are healthy, though. Some symptoms include thick, cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis or vagina, pain or burning sensation when urinating, heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods, painful swollen testicles, painful bowel movements, and anal itching. Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms may appear 5-28 days after exposure, but you may not show signs. Not showing signs doesn’t mean you are healthy, though. Some symptoms include clear, white, greenish or yellowish vaginal discharge, discharge from the penis, strong vaginal odor, vaginal itching or irritation, itching or irritation inside the penis, pain during sexual intercourse, and painful urination. Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics.
For more information on STDs and STIs, feel free to visit the Mayo Clinic’s website http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-symptoms/art-20047081
“Safe Sex X” is Bae Watch’s new Fall mini-series.