Minimal changes here. Mostly just changed STD/STI to STI. The biggest change is the last sentence of the post, which wasn’t there in any form in the original. I intend to spend a bit more time directly addressing STI stigma this time around, starting with a new post inserted into the series next week.
The bit at the end about a trip is from when this post was first written. I’m leaving it there bc it’s part of the history of the blog and why the hell not? updated 11/16/17
Protection against STIs
If you grew up in the 80s and 90s you likely heard the refrain of ‘barrier method’ (a euphemism for ‘condom’) as the only way to have sex without risk of STI. Like many simplistic answers to complex problems it is partly accurate, but leaves out a whole lot.
In theory, the best way to avoid STI is to not have sex with anyone who has an STI. If you and all your sexual partners are regularly tested for STIs, you shouldn’t need to worry, right? Unfortunately, this only works in theory.
The truth is that while STI testing is available at reasonable cost or free in most areas of the US, Canada and Europe (can’t comment on the rest of the world) that it is rare for STI testing to cover all possible infections. For instance, most don’t bother testing for herpes unless you have visible lesions. (Why? Because the test is notoriously unreliable otherwise. More on that another week.)
In addition, as mentioned last week, there are STIs that can infect you without any sexual contact. So even not having sex at all doesn’t provide 100% protection. The most important thing you can do, for yourself and your sexual partners is get it through your heads that there is no such thing as fully protecting yourself from STIs. All you can do is manage your risks.
The second most important thing you can do is understand that most of the time, getting an STI is not the end of the world. Or even your sex life. (More on this next week.)
Sorry for the late (and short) post. Getting ready for this trip has cut unto my time and sanity, I’m afraid. So rather than write a shitty post, I’m stopping here and I’ll continue the topic next time.
Be well all, I’ll be back in two weeks.