I WANT TO HAVE SAFER SEX
Many of us will have a sexually transmitted infection at some stage and not even know it.
With more of us dating and hooking up thanks to dating apps like Tinder and Grinder, more of us are making out with people we hardly know. In the heat of the moment, and particularly if we’ve been drinking, it’s easy to downplay the risks and not use a condom. This puts us at risk of getting and passing on STIs and HIV, or making an unwanted baby.
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- If you’re having sex or being intimate with someone, especially if the relationship is new or not monogamous, then the answer is “yes”, you’re at risk.
- If you sometimes have sex without a condom, you’re at risk.
- If you’ve had sex since your last STI check-up, you’re at risk.
- If you’ve had genital contact, even without full sex, you’re at risk.
- Even if you have no bad signs, and you haven’t had sex for ages, you could still have an STI. They don’t always display symptoms.
By wearing a condom every time, whether you’re having oral, vaginal or anal sex, you can protect yourself from most STIs and unwanted babies. Here are some things you can do to be prepared:
- Keep a couple of condoms in your wallet so you will never be caught short.
- Next time you see your doctor, ask for a condom prescription. You can get up to 144 condoms for $5 and you don’t have to give a reason or do any explaining. If you don’t need that many condoms, give some to your friends.
- Keep condoms at your partner’s place too.
- Get an STI check regularly. Do an online search for a sexual health clinic or family planning near you, or make an appointment with your doctor. Some clinics offer free checks.
- Get an STI check every time after you have unprotected sex. If you’ve picked something up, it might not show up in your test straight away, so wait a couple of weeks before getting tested.
If you think you might have an STI or HIV, you’re obliged to tell the person you’re having sex with before you have sex with them.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common than you might think. It’s easy to forget about the consequences in the heat of passion, so think about them beforehand. Here’s why:
- Genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and lice are all treatable, but getting treatment means you will need to front up to a doctor or clinic and have your symptoms inspected.
- If you have an STI, you will also need to tell your partner, or partners that you might have spread it to or caught it from so they can get treated too. This can be a tricky conversation.
- If you are not planning on having babies, it is best not to take any risks.
- HIV and hepatitis can be spread through sexual contact. These viruses are not cure-able and you will have them for the rest of your life.
- It’s easy to think of condoms as a passion killer. Not wearing a condom could be the real killer.