Oh, F%$&, writing this post does NOT put a smile on my face. It just tells me at how much WE are NOT being told about out sexuality and what BAD things that can happen if we are sexually active. I think, MOST of us are in denial and/or ignorant. A woman wrote the article, (I will leave-out her name and where I got the info to keep MY anonymity). She, seems to be knowledgeable about sexuality, probably, MORE than I am. She does NOT seem to show any religious or conservative views. I have, also, entered another one of her articles about what kinds of barriers that can be used to HELP prevent SOME STDs. Ahh...guess what, most STDs have NO real barrier from getting, unless, you use extreme precautions, such as, NO contact with body fluids, NO touching of genitial areas...any more??? Note 1: Am, I, going to be MORE careful??...YOU bet I am!!! Note 2: Am I going to be tested?...YOU bet I am! Here it is: Guess what? You're only tested for two (2) STDs when you ask for an STD panel. Unless your panel also includes blood, in which case you are also tested for 1-3 additional STDs. Which STDs are these? And which ones aren't you tested for? Damn good questions! You are tested for: Chlamydia (swab usually, rarely urine) Gonorrhea (swab only) Both of those are totally treatable and 'curable'... until the next time you get infected. You might be tested for: Syphilis (blood only - did you know there's a Syphilis epidemic in St. Louis right now? Look at people's hands and feet. If they have sores on them they might have syphilis.) HIV (blood only - you can do a cheek swab but doctors won't) Hepatitis B and C (though rarely C because it isn't usually sexually transmitted) Those are treatable but not curable. Once you have them you have them for life. Dormant or not. I said that because Syphilis can lay dormant. You are not tested for: HPV (blood or visual ID)- See additional info, below. Herpes aka HSV I and II (blood only but can be determined by a culture of open sores) Staph (culture) Mono (blood) Yeast Infection/Jock Itch (visual or culture) Molluscum (visual ID only) Trichomoniasis (culture) Some of the above are treatable: Staph, Mono, Yeast Infection, Trich - the rest are not treatable, once you have them you have them for life: HPV, Herpes, Molluscum. I didn't mention scabies because usually people know when they have lice around their genitals and they seek out their doctor it usually isn't a big surprise. But it is totally treatable and 'curable'. What does this mean? Let's consider that around 80% of people with an STD don't know they have one. And let's also consider that when you go to the Doctor and ask for STD tests that they only test you for the 'curable' things. Now let's do the math... 50-80% of the population has HSV1 - that's the herpes virus that causes cold sores (which, by the way, can live anywhere in your body which means they can show up on your fingers, legs, arms, penis, labia, face, ears, neck, etc.) 20-25% of the population has HSV2 - that's the herpes virus that can only live successfully at the base of the spine so it's called 'genital herpes' because of its location. It's actually less powerful than HSV1 but people are more scared of it. Go figure. 33.4 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2009 - that doesn't count those where HIV has turned into AIDS or those who died (over 2 million). There were 2.7 million new known HIV infections in 2008. 6% of people who have had mono in the past, will relapse. That means they are carriers for life. Did you know that? Have you had mono? 15.3 million new cases of an STD are reported each year in America. 2.8 million new cases of Chlamydia each year. Half of which are not reported. .5 million new cases of Gonorrhea each year. Around .5 million not reported. 10,000+ cases of Syphilis each year. Sounds low right? Except this was supposed to have been wiped out decades ago. - - - - - - - - - - Okay so now you know all the stats. What's the first thing you're going to do? Call your insurance - ask what a full STD panel covers and what other tests they'll cover, ie. HSV2, HPV, etc. Then call your doctor and get your ass in there and get tested! You might think, "But I don't have any symptoms." And that's exactly what the last person thought before they passed on their disease to someone else. Read more on the other topics to see why asking for these extra tests is so crucial! Note: HPV- The stats on HPV are so off that even the CDC won't declare actual numbers. It is very common, with estimates as high as 80% of sexually active people positive for at least one strain at any given time. And what a lot of people don't realise is that like HIV, they can have multiple strains at one time. There are now HPV tests for women that will test the cervical cells and can tell if a woman has HPV without her having abnormal cells. Though it is more common for doctors to do the HPV test when a woman's PAP comes back with unclear results. There are not, however, any tests to test men, who are the carriers. Unfortunately it's the most common STD, nicknamed the Common Cold, and the most difficult to actually detect without obvious symptoms like warts or cancer. There are over 150 strains of HPV, 30 of which have been definitively linked with cancer, and two of those cause 70% of the cancers HPV is attributed to. It is not only a vaginal, anal, and penile virus but can also be spread orally. Approximately 20 million Americans are infected. Another 6 million become infected each year. About 1% of sexually active adults have genital warts at any one time. Each year about 12,000 women get cervical cancer. HPV causes other forms of cancer as well, including: • • 3,700 women who get vulvar cancer • 1,000 women who get vaginal cancer • 1,000 men who get penile cancer • 2,700 women and 1,700 men who get anal cancer • 2,300 women and 9,000 men who get head and neck cancers. If you are a man or woman between 9-26 you can get a vaccine against HPV. It's not 100% protection but it helps. STD Prevention: What constitutes a safe sex barrier? Hint: Spermicide isn't one of them. For Penetrative Sex: Condoms - Female or Male (Did you know that condoms are only guaranteed for 10 minutes of use at which point you're supposed to get a new one?) For Oral Sex: Dental Dams - these are thin sheets of rubber, sometimes flavored, that you can put over the genitals (female or the anal area of either sex) in order to provide a safe barrier between your mouth and the genital part being... pleasured. There are NO other safe sex barrier methods. That's it. You're either wrapped or you aren't safe. And just so you know - there is absolutely NO barrier available that will protect you from all STDs. Think about it, most STDs affect the skin all around the genitals as well, if any of that skin comes in contact with your skin (as it will when you wear a normal male condom) you can be infected. Remember: you can get genital and oral herpes on your face and lips and in your mouth from a woman's vulva if she's infected (and she doesn't have to actually have any sores to transmit to you) and you can pass it on to her if you have HSVI or II on your face (and you don't have to have an active cold sore / fever blister, which are herpes, to pass it on) you can also get HPV in your mouth and throat that can lead to throat, neck, and brain cancer if she's infected with one of the cancer causing HPV strains You can get HIV through her fluids and blood and she can get it from you through oral if you have any nicks in your mouth, bleeding gums, cracked lips, etc.. And you never know when she has a little shaving nick, or just finished her period, or any number of other things. and the list goes on and on... The risk is there but people think, "It won't happen to me..." yup. Everyone who is infected with something said that too.