R omance is in the air with Valentine’s Day fast approaching and new love relationships blossoming all around. Don’t spoil the romance between you and your partner during those intimate moments by contracting and spreading an STI. Learn how to lower your risk of infections during the early stages of your relationship, so that you and your partner will be well protected and informed when engaging in sexual intercourse.

Don’t let an STI spoil your romance

Firstly, let’s get the facts straight. The term sexually transmitted disease (STD) has in many years been the main reference to any illness that is transmitted through sexual contact. However, in modern times the term sexually transmitted infection (STI) has been adopted, as it provides a broader understanding and direct meaning. Simply putting it, an individual may be infected and could infect others, without necessarily having a disease. STI/STD’s are still transmitted the same way either through sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex or contact with bodily fluids such as sperm, saliva, blood, and vaginal discharge. Some STI’s can also be passed on through contact with a partner’s skin or genitals.

The common STI’S

The most common STI contracted among young people is Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, which are transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids such as semen, blood and virginal fluids during all three types’ sexual intercourse. These STI’s are very dangerous because the individual will not always bare any symptoms and majority of the time, will not be aware that they have the infection at all. This makes it easier for infections to spread during sexual intercourse without realising it. The only signals to alert you of infections are if you feel a burning sensation when peeing or have an unfamiliar discharge for the penis or vagina. Both of these infections can however be cured with antibiotics if identified and treated early. Other common STI’s include genital and anal warts, Trichomoniasis, Hepatitis B, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS and Pubic lice. There are warning signs to look out for, which include:

  • Rashes, sores or small lumps spread in the genital area
  • Irregular bleeding after sexual intercourse or between menstrual cycles
  • Pain and swelling of the testis

It’s important to note that STI’s can result in major health problems from mild irritations to serious illness if not detected during the early stages of infection. Pregnant women are also at risk at passing on an STI to their unborn child.

How to prevent it?

The best and most effective way of protecting you and your partner against contracting any STI is by using a condom, and ensuring that no sperm is released during or after sexual intercourse. Try use non lubricated latex condoms for protection against tearing and falling off. Avoid having semen in your mouth at all costs and stay away from sucking if you have bleeding gums, sores or have just come home from the dentist.

Before sexual intercourse avoid any bleeding in your mouth by flossing and brushing your teeth afterwards and rather use mouth wash. Avoid oral sex if your partner has any blisters or sores on the genitals or lips

In order to enjoy the pleasure of sexual intercourse with your partner and not be worried about contracting an infection or disease, rather do your research about how you can be exposed and how STI/STD’s are passed on. If you are worried that you might have contracted something, do not hesitate to get an exam or speak to your local doctor. If you do have an STI you need to be treated, do not be naïve and think it will go away by itself.

For more information on how to prevent infection or disease:

www.wire.wisc.edu

http://std.about.com

Sources:
www.health24.com
www.womenonwaves.org
www.safesexnoregrets.nt.gov.au

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