Here’s a fun fact for a first date. Accordingto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year in the United States alone twentymillion new cases of sexually transmitted diseases and infections occur. This week on the show I wanted to talk aboutSTDs in relationships because of an email that I received a little while back from someonewho I’m going to keep anonymous. Her partner cheated, got an STD and then passed it alongto her. This person wrote I feel like the worst part of the situation is I can’t tellanyone he gave me this. Nobody sees it as just an infection it takes a round of antibioticsto get rid of. Where I live we’re taught that
it’s an STD and there’s a huge stigma builtaround that. Sometimes I question if I’m even still with my partner because I feel likenobody else would want me. That stigma is not isolated to this one person. Studies actuallyfind negative correlations between the amount of STD stigma and the rate that someone willget tested. The more we fear the possibility of us having an STD because we think thatit makes us this dirty, disgusting, shameful person, the less likely we are to go get testedand do our due diligence as sexhaving people. One thing about STDs and STIs that a lot ofus might not realize is that many are asymptomatic meaning that you might have it inside yourbody but there are no external symptoms to
alert you that uhoh I think I might havean STD. Take chlamydia and gonorrhea for instance. Only around twenty to twentyfive percentof women show any symptoms whatsoever whereas most guys will show chlamydia or gonorrheasymptoms. Herpes can lie dormant in your body for years before ever coming out to say, ‘Hello.’To which you’re like, ‘No, don’t say hello to me herpes!’ So it’s quite possible thatsomeone could bring an STD into a relationship that he or she doesn’t know that he or shealready has. I think it’s also worth noting that a recent study found that people whocheat tend to have higher rates of STD contraction because they hadtend to have lower ratesof safe sex practices i.e. using condoms.
This is where the obligatory note about condomscomes in. It is well worth remembering, particularly younger sexhavers who statistically are atthe highest risk of contracting STDs and STIs because you are likeliest to be like, ‘Condomsare such a drag.’ Your pullingout method and your birth control that you might be takingor have, whattup IUDs, are not effective barrier methods to preventing the spread of STDs andSTIs. Condoms are not perfect and they do require diligence and proper usage, but youknow what, requiring diligence and proper usage when it comes to sex is kind of likea good rule to have sex by. Any time you have sex with someone, a good question to ask beforehandis hey, what’s your STD situation, when was
the last time you were tested? That is a veryfair and not too personal and not rude question to ask. When you start dating someone andyou’re having sex and you’re monogamous that’s great however, here is a good safe sex ruleof thumb from Lynn Barclay who’s the president and CEO of the American Sexual Health Foundation.Use condoms consistently for the first six months of your relationship and then go getretested. But here’s the important thing that Barclay outlines about this whole retestingthing and just STD testing in general. There are no standard guidelines for the kinds oftests that you will get and also the frequency of the tests that you should get. If you’renot exactly sure what all you’re getting tested
for, ask your and if there are somegaps in there, some tests that you think you should be getting but you aren’t, ask forthem. The first time I asked my gynecologist for the full shebang, a) I did not call thefull shebang and b) I initially felt a little embarrassed. What will my think ofme? Answer, it doesn’t matter also answer, she’ll probably think I’m a sexhaving womanwho is doing her due diligence to take care of her own body and also the bodies of peoplethat she is coming into sexual contact with. STDs can and do happen whether you’re havingsex with approximately a gajillion people, also where do you find the time for all that?Or if you’re having sex with just one person.