In the ongoing fight against HIV, we often forget about protecting ourselves from other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
That’s probably because HIV was in the past so hard to treat and could be so deadly. Thankfully, HIV is now a manageable condition, much like diabetes.
There are, however, a host of other nasty STIs that can have serious consequences, and in some cases can even be fatal. These are often contracted though unprotected anal sex, oral sex or by sharing a needle.
Among the most common STIs are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, Hepatitis A, B and C, Warts / HPV and Syphilis. And some, such as Gonorrhea, are becoming increasingly resistant to drugs.
Symptoms can include a burning sensation when peeing or ejaculating and / or discharges, warts, sores, or blisters on or near your genitals, mouth or anus. Some don’t have obvious or visible symptoms.
While a daily pill like PrEP can prevent you from getting infected with HIV, it won’t have any effect on other STIs at all. But good old condoms can!
Using condoms with water-based lube remains the best protection from STIs. So if you are sexually active and you’re having sex with different partners, then condoms should ideally still be part of your arsenal to stay healthy.
And because nothing is foolproof, it’s also important to get screened regularly for STIs. Early detection means that an STI is that much more easily treatable and has less chance of damaging your health. A course of medicine will usually get rid of an STI.
At OUT’s TEN81 clinic in Pretoria, you can get free STI screenings and a regular supply of free condoms and lube. Call us on 012 430 3272 to make a free appointment to chat about the best options for keeping your sex life fun – and healthy!