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These Are My Infections: Lets Talk Sexual Health

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware of the scandalous news involving Usher that hit the Internet just about two weeks ago. Radar Online reported that he was ordered to pay a little more than $1 million to a woman who accused him of giving her herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.

This has sparked a conversation on how important our sexual health is. The bottom line is, these streets ain’t safe! As someone who is sexually active, we must be aware that our bodies are our temples and if we do not care for them, no one else will.

It is our obligation to ourselves to be as educated as possible on everything sex related. We must arm ourselves with this information so we can protect ourselves when engaging in sexual intercourse.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases that are diagnosed each year. That is SCARY! There are many different types of STDs that are out there. The most common types that most of us are aware of are herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, crabs (pubic lice), and HIV.

However, even though those are the most common, they aren’t the only diseases you can catch. There are other types and some of the common types have more than one variety. For example, there are over 100 types of HPV viruses you can be at risk for if you aren’t safe.

Now let’s break down the facts so we’re all on the same page.

Regular testing for STDs is something everyone should opt to do.

Untreated STDs can lead to health issues such as causing infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease or increasing your risk of having an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. It doesn’t stop there. There are far worse health complications that can occur because of an untreated STD.

Condoms DO NOT stop the transmission of an STD. They only lower the risk of getting one. Some STDs can be spread through the skin – such as syphilis, herpes and HPV. Therefore, you are still at risk, even when using a condom.

Women are also more susceptible to contracting an STD than men. Due to a woman’s anatomy, they contract STDs more often than men. The female genitals are moister, thinner, and more prone to infection than men’s. So, it’s even more important for us to keep ourselves right ladies. A lot of our symptoms go unnoticed, either because the STD is asymptomatic or because symptoms are not as noticeable.

Therefore, please get tested. I can’t stress that enough. You aren’t just sleeping with your partner, you are sleeping with everyone they have been with. To be safe, you should both be tested before beginning a sexual relationship to make sure you don’t give or get an STD.

We asked some people this burning question: how many partners have you disclosed or asked for their sexual health status? and have some reactions below. But before we get into that, always remember that safe sex is the best sex!

“I’ve only asked two people about their sexual health status because I’m interested in disease, biology and anatomy. It’s something that crosses my mind a lot. I actually just got tested today. I think that people don’t ask and are hesitant to ask because people don’t want to seem lame or ‘not into it.’ But sex can be enjoyable and even more enjoyable knowing that you are safe and there are no threats to your health,” Tiffany Manley, 20.

“I ask all my partners, due to my fear of catching a disease. It is important when you are having sex, whether it be a random hookup or with your partner, that sexual health status be discussed,” Mr. White, 20.

“I’ve asked about 80% of the girls I’ve been with about their sexual health. However, as of recently I haven’t because I’ve been using protection,” said Terrence Thomas, 22.

“I’ve asked the 3 people I’ve been with to see their papers because I’m not trying to get an STD or give them one. I get tested regularly cause I’m gay and there’s not that much protection out there. So, I just like to be on the safe side,” Louise Mozie, 21.

“I only talked about it and disclosed it to 3 people. The more I took an interest in it and the more knowledge I gained on sexual health, I felt like it was important to discuss it with my sexual partners,” Nicholas Smith, 24.

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About Shekera Clarke

My name is Shekera Clarke. I am currently a senior at the University at Albany majoring in journalism with a business minor. I grew up in Queens, NY. QGTM! My goals upon graduating include either writing for a pop culture magazine/blog or work for ESPN because of my love for sports - whether that's behind the scenes or on air.

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