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Heading Back to College? 3 Things About STDs You Must Know 

With school back in session, there are some things you won’t learn in class.

One is how to protect yourself against sexually transmitted disease. Although there may be some mention of STDs, it’s not a subject that is talked about enough.

That’s why it’s very important to educate yourself about STDs so you can protect yourself and your sexual partners from getting diseases while attending college.

Here are three things you need to know about sexually transmitted diseases.

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Bursting the Bubble on Birth Control Myths 

Birth control, love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Preconceptions about the pill and other forms of female contraceptives paint a very inaccurate picture of what the items do and do not do.

Here, we set the record straight by bursting the bubble on birth control myths.

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Sexual Health Myths

Your doctor is the best source of information about your sexual health. So, why do you trust rumors, social media or the new friend you made at that party last Friday?

Everything you hear about sexual health is not true.

Some myths about sexual health refuse to die down. To combat those pesky rumors and ongoing myths, we’ve put together a list of three common myths and the facts that debunk them.

woman telling lies myths

Sexual Health Myths Debunked

Sexual Health Myth #1 – Women need a pap smear when they turn 18

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revised the recommendation for Pap tests. The test is recommended for women who have been sexually active for about three years, or when they turn 21.

An early Pap test probably won’t be particularly harmful. However, the anticipation of the test may make young women uncomfortable and less likely to ask questions. The recommendation for tests to begin at age 21 is safe.

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Birth Control vs STD prevention – Part 2

Yesterday we talked about the common methods of birth control. However which ones prevent STDs? Will all methods that prevent pregnancy also stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases? Sadly – no. Not at all.

Birth control that prevent STDs

Here are the methods of birth control we covered yesterday:

  • Condoms (male & female)
  • Birth control pills
  • Sponge
  • Diaphragm
  • Ring
  • The patch
  • Shot/injection and IUD

And now, according to womenshealth.gov,

The male latex condom is the only birth control method proven to help protect you from STIs

Yep – out of a long list of options for preventing pregnancy, only ONE is recommended to prevent STDs (including the HIV virus.) Pretty scary huh?

** Side note – abstinence is still the #1 way to prevent STDs or pregnancy.

Condoms-for-std-prevention

The male latex condom is the only birth control method that prevents STDs.

Read more about birth control & STD prevention from Womens Health.

One small silver lining – dental dams

Out of all of the methods of preventing birth control, one technique for “STD” control has been developed. “Dental dams” are used to prevent STDs during oral sex, a very common way to contract them. They are made using a thin piece of rubber (many use the surgical supplies created for oral surgeries.) Some may also transform a condom or medical gloves into a dental dam. There are tutorials on transforming plastic wrap into a dental dam, however they don’t provide the same level of effectiveness for STD prevention as medically produced condoms or rubber pads. Dental dams may protect against orally transmitted STDS, including HIV.

I think I have an STD… now what?

Preventing STDs is just as important as preventing pregnancy, even if the options for prevention are extremely limited. While a method might appear to be safe (if it kills sperm, surely it kills disease) – that’s definitely not the case. Fortunately, in the event you do have an STD, there are treatment and testing options. First, find out if you have an STD by getting STD tested. If you do have one, take a deep breath. Many STDs will clear up with use of a prescription antibiotic. And for those that are not curable (HIV or herpes, for example), there are some medications to reduce symptoms and prevent (or slow down) transmission. You can see a physician and learn your options.

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Birth Control vs STD Prevention – Part 1

I read this week that STD prevention funding is dwindling. Isn’t that crazy? Statistics on STDs , to me, would clearly show the NEED for continued education on the topic. However, not everyone agrees with me. So, I’ll just take it upon myself to continue providing education through this blog about STDs.

Today I want to cover something new for us: STD prevention. We’ve talked a lot about understanding each STD & how it works – but we’ve not covered how to prevent them … or what’s not preventing them.

So enjoy part 1 of “Birth control vs STD control.” Today we’ll cover the different birth control methods out there. Tomorrow we’ll review what really IS working to prevent STDs … and what’s ONLY to be used for contraception.

birth-control-vs-std-prevention

Birth Control Methods

Let’s go ahead and get the giggles out. This is going to feel like a little like sex-ed class. However hopefully since it’s online, it’s not as awkward. At least we hope so. Here are some of the most popular birth control methods as of late:

Condom (male & female)

This is probably the most common form of birth control. There are male & female condoms; male condoms are the most widely-used. Female condoms are made of rubber, inserted into the vagina before intercourse and removed immediately after. Male condoms may be made of latex or polyurethane. There are also natural or lambskin condoms. Just google them and you’ll see a very wide variety of options – each claiming to offer some unique “advantage” to their brand. Male condoms are also disposed of immediately after intercourse.

Birth control pills

Condoms are the most common birth control method that men use; birth control pills are one of the most common among women. Physicians may prescribe these pills that contain hormones that prevent ovulation. Regularly taking one pill each day of the week (optimally at the same time of the day) decreases changes of pregnancy.

Sponges

Sponges are an alternative to a female condom, yet also found over the counter. Any Seinfeld fans now thinking of the episode with Eliane and the sponge?  The sponge for contraception blocks, absorbs and releases agents that kill sperm. The Today Sponge is the only product currently approved for use in the U.S.

Diaphragms (and cervical caps/shields)

Diaphragms differ from female condoms because you need a doctor to fit you for one. Many come in the form of cups, or some are even smaller than that – for example, thimble-sized. Spermicide goes onto these contraptions and kills sperm as it enters the vagina, thus preventing pregnancy. Doctors may prescribe FemCap or Lea’s Shield, or a generic version of the two.

Ring (NuvaRing)

Women who prefer not to take pills may opt for the ring. It is worn for 3 weeks (removed the 4th week for menstruation.) It releases hormones that prevent ovulation.

The patch

Many women choose to wear the patch as a birth control method. This prescribed patch contains hormones that prevent ovulation.

Shot/injections Or IUDs

Women who really want a “fix it & forget it” solution to birth control may opt for a shot/injection or IUD. The shot or injection (brand name is Depo-Provera) will stop ovaries from producing eggs. This method requires receiving shots around every every 3 months or so.

The IUD, or intrauterine device, is implanted by a physician. This rod will create a thicker lining of mucus in the cervix. It will also prevent implantation in the event fertilization does occur.

Abstinence

Of course, we have to mention the tried-and-true method of birth control:  abstinence. Not having any form of sexual intercourse is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy … or STD.

Which birth control methods prevent STDs?

So – now that you know all of the ways to prevent contraception, which ones prevent STDs? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out…

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