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February is National Condom Month

February is recognized as National Condom Month in the United States. Originally started on a university campus, it has grown into an educational event that benefits high schools, colleges, AIDS groups, sexually transmitted disease awareness groups and family planning centers.  Continue reading “February is National Condom Month” »

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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.

Continue reading “Sexual Health Myths” »

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STD Prevention: The Basic Facts

If you’ve looked at our blog at all, you know what STD stands for. You probably also know that sexually transmitted diseases denote those health conditions dealing with one’s genital and reproductive organs and biological systems. They can make a partner vulnerable for possible infection.

You knew all that. But, did you know that in the USA, nearly 19 million people get infected with sexually transmitted diseases every year? These diseases spread quickly. It is important to take preventive measures.

STD Prevention Basic Facts for Preventing STDs

To prevent STDs you do not need to give up having sex forever. You do, however, need to be aware of your sexual health and take precautions.

Have a look at the basic preventive measures below:

Vaccinations

Make sure to get Hepatitis B and HPV vaccinations as they are highly effective methods of prevention.

Single Partner Commitment

Learning to stay committed to a single partner will reduce your risk of STDs. Having sexual contact with multiple partners makes your more vulnerable to STDs. So, being sexually active with one partner will reduce your risk of infection. Mutual monogamy is important since an uninfected partner can ensure zero infection of sexually transmitted diseases. Staying honest with your partner is helpful in preventing STD.

Protection

Using contraceptives and other forms of birth control are often helpful in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Use condoms every time you have sex to reduce STD transmission.

If you notice symptoms

If you notice symptoms, it is time to consult with your doctor. If you or your partner develops any symptom of an STD or are concerned with potential symptoms, it is best to refrain from having sex until you consult a doctor.

Symptoms And The Importance Of Prevention:

STDs not only cause health symptoms, but they also can be life threatening. Take preventive measures seriously. When you notice any of the following symptoms, it is time to get tested and consult with a doctor. Remember that some STDs don’t have noticeable symptoms. You should be tested regularly.

  • irregular discharge
  • sores in genital area
  • burning or itching sensation
  • bleeding or redness in genital area

 

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Props to UNC for their Sexual Health Initiative – Catchy Condom Slogans

Major props to those Tar Heels this week.

As many of you know, condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent STDs. (Yes, STD prevention is different than preventing pregnancy.)

So what better way to try and stop the STD epidemic from spreading co-ed to co-ed?

Why a condom competition of course!

Name that condom dispenser!

Condom Dispenser Feature Story

Props to UNC’s condom dispenser contest – image from UNC’s Campus Health Services.

Just check out UNC’s website where students can submit their clever ideas for catchy condom machine slogans. The contest is part of a university-wide campaign to increase awareness of sexual health practices. It appears me and my friends at ARCpoint Labs are not the only ones who recognize the growing problem of STDs, especially among youth.

Plans for new condom dispensers around campus are in the works for this year. And what better way to draw attention to them than a funny slogan – especially one coming from a clever copywriter within the student body.

What is in it for the wise guy who finds a way to promote public sexual health in a “school-approved” way? Well – less occurrence of gonorrhea and chlamydia, of course. Oh – and an iPad mini.

Why the condom slogan competition is genius…

This STD blogger applauds the university for such a creative way to promote sexual health.

Nobody likes to think about, much less talk about STDs – but they are a growing problem. Just read the statistics.  And this university found a way around the awkwardness.

Having students get involved through a non-offensive way is the first step in gaining awareness. Once the contest is over, students can search for the new condom dispensers to see which entries won out. (Oh – and as a result, they will know where the condom boxes are located in the event they need one.) Genius.

We are thrilled to see a university step up, be creative and find a way to bridge the uncomfortable “have safe sex” conversation around campus. This totally beats the “birds and the bees” talk.

We cannot wait to see what students come up with… it might even warrant a field trip to UNC.

 

An STD blog? Really? Yep – we’re here to spread the word about the growing STD problem in America. Need an STD test? We recommend ARCpoint Labs.

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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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Next Time He’ll Think Before He Cheats … About STDs

Two things nobody enjoys thinking about:  a cheating spouse and STDs. However many times, those two things come together when cheating is involved. If it’s not one thing to find out your spouse has been cheating on you, it’s a double-whammy for many couples who have a cheating spouse with STDs. And according to research, it’s becoming more and more common.stds-flirting-ecard-someecards

Cheating + STDs

The Business Standard recently posted an article titled “Love cheats more likely to contract STDs” where a researcher was quoted saying:

“Our research suggests that people who are unfaithful to their monogamous romantic partners pose a greater risk for STDs than those who actively negotiate non-monogamy in their relationship, lead researcher Dr Terri Conley was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

The article explains that those in open relationships are less likely to contract STDs and suggests it’s because individuals who participate in open relationships tend to be sober and more “sexually aware.” The sexual activity is pre-planned, and therefore safe sex is typically practiced more, such as using a condom.  Statistically, those who are cheating on a spouse tend to not use protection. They also tend to use drugs & alcohol more than those in open relationships, too.

Does your spouse have an STD?

Monogamy is one of the best ways to prevent an STD (if both partners are free of STDs when the relationship begins.) However in the event your partner does cheat, it’s wise to consider STD testing for both of you to ensure you’re still protected and not at risk. No, it’s not a pleasant topic to address. And nobody likes thinking about getting an STD test. However it’s a non-invasive way to easily protect yourself from any more hurt and struggle. And if you’ve been cheated on, that’s at least one thing you can do as you rebuild your life.

Been cheated on? Worried you have an STD?

Find the nearest walk-in lab for STD testing today.

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