April is STD Awareness Month

If you didn't know, the month of April is dedicated to spreading awareness on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs). Reports of STD's are on the rise, especially among young people, and left untreated, many can lead to reproductive difficulties, pelvic inflammatory disease and increased risk of some cancers. Follow these simple tips for maximum safety in the sack.

  • Prevention is key. Always use reliable barrier protection, like condoms, with new partners—and make sure they're not expired, torn, or previously exposed to high temperatures.  
  • Maintain clear communication. Before engaging in sexual activity, ask potential mates to disclose their status in an open and honest conversation. If they haven't been tested recently, you might want to hold off until they're sure.
  • Never use oil or petroleum based lubricant with condoms, because they can cause the rubber in the latex to break.
  • Vaccines are available for Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatits A and B, two of the most common kinds of STDs. Consider getting immunized if you haven't already.
  • Get tested regularly and often. STDs don't always have immediate symptoms and a few take weeks to even months after exposure to be detected by a test. They can also lay dormant in your throat, so don't forget to include a mouth swab if you've been having oral sex.
  • If you do test positive, don't freak out! A lot of sexually transmitted infections are curable with medication, and all are treatable. Discuss your options with your doctor, and be honest with your current and future partner(s). Remember that you're not alone—the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in the United States, nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year. 

Awareness is your best tool in dealing with STDs. Use this month to GYT (Get Yourself Tested) and keep your sex safe and enjoyable!