I’ve been seeing a LOT of posts about condoms lately. More specifically, the non-use of them. I’m floored. This isn’t something I usually focus on, but being as I am more medically inclined, I think it is definitely something that we need to talk about again! Yes, it is birth control, of course, but with all the other methods for birth control out there, I think people are starting to forget there are STD’s. Let’s start with a few statistics.

According to the CDC, Center for Disease Control, Β (stats) there are 19.7 million new STI (sexually transmitted infections) every year! In 2008, 110 million people had prevalent STIs, that’s one-third of the population in the US (one-third!!). About half of all new STIs occurring are in young people ages 15-24. Hepatitis B, more infectious than HIV, and leading to liver disease, cirrhosis, and cancer, will effect 1 in 20 Americans. HIV is on the rise for heterosexual persons, mainly because many of them believe they cannot get the disease.

Sexually transmitted diseases, or infections, may be transmitted in other ways (ie: blood) but are always transmitted via bodily fluids. During sex this means saliva, sperm, cum, pre-cum, vaginal fluids, and, if you happen to have any tears in your skin or mucosa, blood. Sex is messy and there is a good chance you’re going to encounter all of these at different times. I urge you to be smart, get tested regularly if you are not in a committed relationship, and use condoms. When used properly, condoms can block almost all of your transmission risk. These days, “they” suggest using dental dams (in the case of cunnilingus) and condoms for oral sex as well. While this might seem excessive, even oral sex can be a risk if you have a cut in or around your mouth, for example, so I would say make your own determination there. I remember once someone told me they had only anal sex to “be safe.” After I got over my shock, I explained that anal tears can easily pass HIV and other diseases, the number one reason why HIV has been so prevalent in the homosexual community.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, when HIV and AIDS were rocking the world, I had this drilled into my head and I didn’t let anyone come near me without making sure I was sure! Hearing people talk and write today about happenstance sex without protection makes me lose my mind. I can’t believe so many people would take so little care with their lives. You can have fun and be smart about it at the same time. I sat my kids down when they were going into 8th grade, gave them condoms, and a serious lecture. Some people may say that’s too early, but I was NOT ready to be a grandma back then! Teaching “abstinence” is a laughable solution, in my humble opinion. Just in case you didn’t have that benefit, check into it now. It is a cheap, easy solution to a huge problem.

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Anna Levenson-Pintrest