Health - STIs and AIDS
A condom is not only useful to prevent STIs or unwanted pregnancies... By choosing the one that suits you best and by varying pleasures, a condom will help you to stimulate and strenghten your feelings!
What are STIs?
STI means sexually transmitted infection. There are many different STIs, such as Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, BV (bacterial vaginosis), Gential Herpes, HPV (human papillomavirus), Trichomoniasis or HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS cannot be cured yet, and like all the other STIs, it can have serious consequences if untreated.
We currently still face a high rate of infections by the HIV, since the beginning of the epidemic (in the beginning of the 80s), with many new infections in 2017 (2.4 infected people each day in Belgium which is a really small country). It is of utmost importance to inform yourself!
How to protect yourself?
The only 100% secure way to prevent STIs and unwhished pregnancy is to avoid any sexual intercourse. Some people can choose not to have sex... but most people do have sex which is completely natural and excellent for the health.
In order to protect you from STIs and unwished pregnancy, it is very important to practice safe sex only : this means to make sure you don't get anyone else's blood, semen, or vaginal fluids in your body - it means also protecting your partners too! Condoms are the only way to protect yourself and your partner from STIs and HIV. It also prevents unwished pregnancies. But they are not fool proof : you have to use them correctly every time you have sex.
The best condoms for sexual intercourse are lubricated latex condoms. If you are allergic to latex, use a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom.
Using lubricating gel will make things go smoother and give you added protection. Lubricating gel is especially great for women the first time you have sex, or if you intend to get sore. Always use a water based lubricant because oil breaks latex. Don't use vaseline, hand creams or lotions as a lubricant.
How do you get an STI ?
These infections and diseases spread from one person to another during sexual intercourse, whether vaginal, oral or anal. The condom remains, at present, the only way to protect yourself against STI !
No mistake : pill, IUD, vaginal ring or spermicides do protect from pregnancy but not from STIs.
Are STIs curable or do you have them forever?
Most STIs can be cured with antibiotics, but there are infections - like Genital Herpes or HIV/AIDS - that have no cure. They can be stabilized only by daily heavy medication such as tri-therapy.
When you have the slightest doubt, consult a doctor.
How to use a condom?
1) Make sure your condoms are not expired - check the expiration date. Throw away condoms that have expired, been very hot, carried around in your wallet, or washed in the washer. If you think the condom might not be good, get a new one.
2) Open it. Tear open the foil carefully so you don't rip the condom.
3) Determine which way the condom is rolled. First unroll it about half an inch to see in which direction it is unrolling. Then put it on. It should unroll easily down your penis. If you start off wrong, try again with a new condom.
4) Hold the reservoir end of the condom between your fingers when you roll it down. This keeps out air bubbles, which can cause the condom to break.
5) Roll the condom down as far as it will go.
6) Consider placing lubricant after you have placed the condom, not before - the condom could slip off. Add more lube often. Dry condoms break more easily.
7) When you pull out, hold the condom so it doesn't slip off. Take the condom off only after you are completely out of your partner.
8) Throw out the used condom right away.
Use a condom only once and with only one partner.
Which symptoms and consequences may have STIs ?
The type of STI determines what kind of symptoms, if any, a person has.
Some STIs - like Chlamydia - cause vertually no symptoms, whereas others - like Gonorrhea - can cause the person to have discharge from the vagina or penis. If it goes untreated, Syphilis causes many different symptoms that can ultimately lead to damage to the internal organs such as PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) and infertility. HPV is an STI that can cause warts in the genital area and can lead to cervical, anal or penile cancer. HIV can lead to AIDS that cannot be cured yet.
A great number of different STIs do exist, which means that you have to inform yourself!
When you have the slightest doubt, consult your doctor.
Always use a condom if...
... you are practicing oral sex, put a condom first. Don't get semen in your mouth because you could get a STIs or HIV that way.
Advice: try non lubricated or flavoured condoms for this kind of intimate relation.
... you are using a sex toy : put a condom on the toy!
... you intend to have sexual intercourse.
Some people think that putting a condom is too much work when you're supposed to be having fun. But it's easy for condoms to be really fun and erotic. Be creative!