This article was published on February 6th, 2017
It’s time to have a serious talk about safe sex. There are so many misconceptions around STIs and how they are passed on that people are getting things wrong even when they think they are well informed. Being informed means know what is, and how to use, a safer sex toolkit.
Having bareback sex doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get HIV or an STI. Sure, if you go around barebacking with a bunch of strangers whose history you don’t know, and not protecting yourself, then you are putting yourself at higher risk. But bareback isn’t the only way STI’s and HIV are contracted. The most common STI’s can be passed on through kissing, skin-to-skin contact, and oral sex.
Gonorrhoea is passed on through skin-to-skin contact, as are herpes and warts. Chlamydia doesn’t require ejaculation to be transmitted, and syphilis is passed on through contact with a sore. Thankfully, most STIs are preventable or treatable. In order to avoid contracting them or to know when you have them, you need to have a safer sex tool kit under your belt. This is equally important for those in committed relationships and those who have an aversion to monogamy. Prioritize your sexual health by using a safer sex toolkit that includes these items:
Ok, they are possibly the least sexy things in existence and the biggest mood kill but the fact is, condoms are the single most effective method of contracting HIV. If you don’t know the sexual health history of your partner, don’t risk it. Suck it up, strap up, and focus on enjoying what you can.
Anyone who is sexually active must get tested frequently. Make sure you are getting tested at least every six months to keep on top of any potential health issues that might arise, and every three months if you are more sexually active with multiple partners. Knowing your own status keeps your informed, plus not all STI’s have obvious symptoms, which can be identified in regular screening.
You don’t have to be in love with someone or even like them, but make sure you have a basic level of respect of the people you are having sex with. Trust in their honesty with you, know how many people you are both sleeping with, who is using protection and who isn’t. The easiest way to reduce risk in your life is to understand how exposed you are and respond based on that. Not only will open communication reduce the risk of STI transmission, it’ll make the sex a hell of a lot better! Always ask new and re-occurring partners, what their HIV and STI status is, and when they were last tested, and report to them your status and test dates. It’s simple and helps partners make informed decisions.
PrEP or TasP
If you are HIV negative, sexually active, and at high risk, seriously consider taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Known most commonly as the brand name Truvada, PrEP can reduce your risk of HIV by up to 99%. If you are HIV positive, taking treatment as prevention (TasP), will reduce your viral load count to an undetectable level, so you can carry on a happy, healthy, and active sex life.
Sex is amazing, fun and wonderful to enjoy. Knowing the inherent risks and how to prevent them will allow you to enjoy sex naturally and safely. Make sure your safer sex toolkit is up to date and fully implemented today.