Category Archives: sex

How to Prevent HIV/AIDS and other STDs

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against HIV/AIDS and other STDs:

  • Abstinence: Simply choose not to have sex.
  • Sober Sex: If you’re drinking or taking drugs, you are more apt to get into a situation where safer sex practices falter or fail altogether. If you have sex when you’re sober, you’re more likely to be safe.
  • Latex and Polyurethane Barrier Methods: Use safe sex materials such as male and female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots when engaging in sexual activity. Do not use male and female condoms at the same time!
  • Fewer Partners/Monogamy: The fewer sex partners you have, the more you reduce your risk of HIV infection.
  • Needle Exchange/Clean Your Works: Always use new, unused needles or clean your works by flushing the needle and plunger with water and bleach each time you use an intravenous drug syringe. Do not share other IV drug paraphanalia such as cookers cottons/filters, or water glasses.
  • Pregnancy: If you are HIV positive and think you may be pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss your options. There are medications that you can take during your pregnancy to reduce your baby’s risk of being HIV positive.
  • Breastfeeding: HIV positive mothers should not nurse a child. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child via breast milk. Instead your physician will provide alternatives to nursing your baby.
  • Getting Tested: The only way to be sure of your HIV status is to get tested. With a rapid oral test, you can even get a cheek swab and get your results in as little as 20 minutes. If you test negative, your healthcare provider will provide tools that can help you remain that way. If you test positive, your healthcare provider can counsel you on methods used to prevent the spread of HIV.

What Is AIDS? What Is HIV?

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The illness alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the disease progresses.

HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk). The virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivering the baby during childbirth, and through breast feeding.

HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as vaginal, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles.

Both the virus and the disease are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some will then develop AIDS.  The development of numerous opportunistic infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.

According to research, the origins of HIV date back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century in west-central Africa. AIDS and its cause, HIV, were first identified and recognized in the early 1980s.

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS.  Treatments can slow the course of the disease -  some infected people can live a long and relatively healthy life.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the virus which attacks the T-cells in the immune system.
AIDS is the syndrome which appears in advanced stages of HIV infection.
HIV is a virus.
AIDS is a medical condition.
HIV infection causes AIDS to develop. However, it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. Without treatment, the HIV infection is allowed to progress and eventually it will develop into AIDS in the vast majority of cases.
HIV testing can identify infection in the early stages. This allows the patient to use prophylactic (preventive) drugs which will slow the rate at which the virus replicates, delaying the onset of AIDS.
AIDS patients still have the HIV virus and are still infectious.  Someone with AIDS can pass HIV to someone else

What are the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

What is the difference between a sign and a symptom? A sign is something other people, apart from the patient can detect, such as a swelling, rash, or change in skin color. A symptom is something only the patient feels and describes, such as a headache, fatigue, or dizziness.

For the most part, the symptoms of HIV are the result of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These conditions do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems, which protect the body against infection.
Signs and symptoms of early HIV infection
Many people with HIV have no symptoms for several years. Others may develop symptoms similar to flu, usually two to six weeks after catching the virus. The symptoms can last up to four weeks.
Symptoms of early HIV infection may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • muscle ache
  • sore throat
  • sweats (particularly at night)
  • enlarged glands
  • a red rash
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Asymptomatic HIV infection
In many cases, after the initial symptoms disappear, there will not be any further symptoms for many years. During this time, the virus carries on developing and damages the immune system. This process can take up to 10 years. The infected person will experience no symptoms, feel well and appear healthy.
Late-stage HIV infection
If left untreated, HIV weakens the ability to fight infection. The person becomes vulnerable to serious illnesses. This stage of infection is known as AIDS.
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection may include:

  • blurred vision
  • diarrhea,  which is usually persistent or chronic
  • dry cough
  • fever of above 37C (100F) lasting for weeks
  • night sweats
  • permanent tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen glands lasting for weeks
  • weight loss
  • white spots on the tongue or mouth

During late-stage HIV infection, the risk of developing a life-threatening illness is much greater. Examples include:

  • esophagitis(an inflammation of the lining of the lower end of the esophagus)
  • infections to the nervous system (acute aseptic meningitis, subacute encephalitis, peripheral neuropathy)
  • pneumonia
  • some cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, invasive cervical cancer, lung cancer, rectal carcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, head and neck cancers, cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas
  • toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by a parasite that infects the brain. It can also cause disease in the eyes and lungs)
  • tuberculosis

Life-threatening illnesses may be controlled and treated with proper HIV treatment.

What causes HIV/AIDS?

HIV is a retrovirus that infects the vital organs of the human immune system. The disease progresses in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.  The rate of disease progression varies widely between individuals and depends on many factors (age of the patient, body’s ability to defend against HIV,  access to health care, existence of coexisting infections, the infected person’s genetic inheritance, resistance to certain strains of HIV).
HIV can be transmitted through:

  • Sexual transmission. It can happen when there is contact with infected sexual secretions (rectal, genital or oral mucous membranes). This can happen while having unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex or sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV.
  • Perinatal transmission. The mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and also through breastfeeding.
  • Blood transmission. The risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusion is nowadays extremely low in developed countries, thanks to meticulous screening and precautions. Among drug users, sharing and reusing syringes contaminated with HIV-infected blood is extremely hazardous.
    Thanks to strict protection procedures the risk of accidental infection for healthcare workers is low.
    Individuals who give and receive tattoos and piercings are also at risk and should be very careful.

Myths: There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. The virus CANNOT be transmitted from:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • casual kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • or other forms of “casual contact”

How is HIV/AIDS diagnosed?

1 in every 5 HIV-positive Africans is unaware of their HIV-status, and only 49% of those who are aware receive ongoing medical care and treatment.
HIV blood test
Diagnosis is made through a blood test that screens specifically for the virus.
If the HIV virus has been found, the test result is “positive”. The blood is re-tested several times before a positive result is given to the patient.
For those whose tests came back positive, they will be asked to undergo some other tests to see how the infection has progressed, and also to decide when to start treatment.
If a person has been exposed to the virus, it is crucial that they get tested as soon as possible. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely the treatment will be successful.  Also, precautions can be taken to prevent the virus from spreading to other people.
After infection with HIV, it can take up from three weeks to three months for the virus to show up in testing. Re- testing may be necessary.
If a patient’s most at risk moment of becoming HIV infected was within the last three months, he/she can have the test immediately. However, a good doctor will urge that another test be carried out within a few weeks.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a general term for infection of the uterus lining, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

Causes

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs when bacteria move from the vagina or cervix into the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or pelvis.

Most cases of PID are due to the bacteria that cause chlamydia and gonorrhea. These are sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The most common way a woman develops PID is by having unprotected sex with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection.However, bacteria may also enter the body during some surgical or office procedures, such as:

  • Childbirth
  • Endometrial biopsy
  • Insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Miscarriage
  • Therapeutic or elective abortion

You are more likely to develop PID if you have:

  • A male sexual partner with gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Past history of any sexually transmitted infection
  • Past history of PID
  • Recent insertion of an IUD
  • Sexual activity during adolescence

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of PID include:

  • Fever (not always present; may come and go)
  • Pain or tenderness in the pelvis, lower abdomen, or sometimes the lower back
  • Vaginal discharge with abnormal color, texture, or smell

Other symptoms that may occur with PID:

  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Increased menstrual cramping
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • No menstruation
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Note: There may be no symptoms. People who experience an ectopic pregnancy or infertility often have had silent PID, which is usually caused by chlamydia infection.

Treatment

Your doctor will often start you on antibiotics while waiting for your test results.

If you are diagnosed with milder PID, you will usually be given an antibiotic injection or shot, and then sent home with antibiotic pills to take for up to 2 weeks. You will need to closely follow up with your health care provider.

More severe cases of PID may require you to stay in the hospital. Antibiotics are first given by IV, and then later by mouth. Which antibiotic is used depends on the type of infection.

A number of different antibiotics may be used for treating this type of infection.

Sexual partners must be treated to prevent passing the infection back and forth. You and your partner must finish all of the antibiotics. Use condoms until you both have finished taking your antibiotics.

Complicated cases that do not improve with antibiotics may need surgery.

Possible Complications

PID infections can cause scarring of the pelvic organs, possibly leading to:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms of PID
  • You think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Treatment for a current STI does not seem to be working

Prevention

Preventive measures include:

  • Get prompt treatment for STIs.
  • Practice safer sex behaviors. The only absolute way to prevent an STI is to not have sex (abstinence). Having a sexual relationship with only one person (monogamous) can reduce the risk. Use a condom every time you have sex.

You can reduce the risk of PID by getting regular STI screening exams. Couples can be tested before starting to have sex. Testing can detect infections that are not yet causing symptoms.

All sexually active women ages 20 – 25 and younger should be screened each year for chlamydia and gonorrhea. All women with new sexual partners or multiple partners should also be screened.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually passed on through having sex with someone who is infected.

The bacteria that cause syphilis are called Treponema pallidum. They can enter your body if you have close contact with an infected sore, normally during vaginal, anal or oral sex or by sharing sex toys with someone who is infected.

Pregnant women can pass the condition on to their unborn baby, which can cause stillbirth or death of the baby shortly after labour. It may also be possible to catch syphilis if you are an injecting drug user and you share a needle with somebody who is infected.

Syphilis also cannot be spread by using the same toilet, clothing, cutlery or bathroom as an infected person, as the bacteria cannot survive for long outside the human body.

Three stages of disease

The symptoms of syphilis develop in three stages, described below.

  • Stage 1 (primary syphilis) – Symptoms of syphilis begin with a painless but highly infectious sore on the genitals or sometimes around the mouth. If somebody else comes into close contact with the sore, typically during sexual contact, they can also become infected. The sore lasts two to six weeks before disappearing.
  • Stage 2 (secondary syphilis) – Secondary symptoms, such as a skin rash and sore throat, then develop. These symptoms may disappear within a few weeks, after which you experience a latent (hidden) phase with no symptoms, which can last for years. After this, syphilis can progress to its third, most dangerous stage.
  • Stage 3 (tertiary syphilis) – Around a third of people who are not treated for syphilis will develop tertiary syphilis. At this stage, it can cause serious damage to the body.

The primary and secondary stages are when you are most infectious to other people. In the latent phase (and usually around two years after becoming infected), syphilis cannot be passed on to others but can still cause symptoms.

What to do

If you suspect you have syphilis, visit a  sexual health clinic  as soon as possible. The earlier syphilis is treated, the less chance there is of serious complications.

Treating syphilis

If diagnosed early, syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin injections.

However, if it is not treated, syphilis can progress to a more dangerous form of the disease and cause serious conditions such as stroke, paralysis, blindness or even death.

Complications

It is estimated that people with syphilis are three to five times more likely to catch HIV. This is because the genital sores caused by syphilis can bleed easily, making it easier for the HIV virus to enter the blood during sexual activity.

Infection with both HIV and syphilis can be serious because syphilis can progress much more rapidly than normal.

Preventing syphilis

The only guaranteed way to prevent a syphilis infection is to avoid sexual contact or to have sexual contact only with a faithful partner who has been tested and does not have the infection.

You can reduce your risk of catching syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by:

  • using a condom during vaginal, oral and anal sex
  • using a dental dam (square of plastic) during oral sex
  • avoiding sharing sex toys

Tip.

The only guaranteed way to prevent a syphilis infection is to avoid sexual contact or only to have sexual contact with a faithful partner who has been tested and is not infected.

Condoms can reduce your risk of catching syphilis, but cannot prevent it altogether. You can still catch syphilis if your mouth makes contact with a sore on an infected person’s anus or vagina, for example.

It is important not only to use a condom during vaginal, oral and anal sex, but also consider using a dental dam (square of plastic) when your mouth makes contact with your partner’s vagina or anus. This will reduce your risk of any sexually transmitted disease (STI), not just syphilis.

Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do share them, wash them or cover them with a condom before each use.

Sexual penetration or ejaculation does not need to take place for syphilis to spread.

If you are an injecting drug user, do not use other people’s needles.

 

Teenage pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is pregnancy in human females under the age of 20 at the time that the pregnancy ends.

  • 3 in 10 teen African girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That’s nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year.
  • Parenthood is the leading reason that teen girls drop out of school. More than half of teen mothers never graduate from university .
  • About a quarter of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of their first baby.
  • 8 out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child.
  • A sexually active teen who doesn’t use contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
  • Almost 50 percent of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives.

How to Avoid a Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is a rather frightening reality that can change your life in an instant. The good news is that teenage pregnancy is avoidable: By not having sex, you never risk getting pregnant. If you do decide to have sex, it’s best to stay informed about what you can do to avoid unwanted pregnancy. This guide will help inform you.

Don’t give in to peer pressure. Many teenagers can feel left behind when their friends start to have boyfriends, or start having sex. Those who have started to do these things early can often talk about it enough to make others feel left out. However, if you do stand your ground and wait until you know you are ready, you will be glad of it. It means you’ll have waited for the right person and the right time.

  • Everyone develops at different rates, both physically and mentally, so don’t feel that you should be racing your peers for things like having sex and getting boyfriends.
  • Many of your peers will regret their choices in time. Others could even be lying. Don’t just start having sex because other people are if you aren’t ready to do it yourself.

Learn to say “No”. This includes saying no to anything you feel uncomfortable with. Whether it’s refusing to have a boyfriend, have any kind of physical contact, have sex or have sex without protection, there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself. The only 100% safe way to avoid pregnancy is to not have sex, so you shouldn’t feel stupid for not wanting to go through with something.

Know what will and won’t result in pregnancy. With sex in general, there are a lot of myths about what will get you pregnant and what will keep you from getting pregnant. A lot of these myths are simple misinformation, and some of them are lies designed to deceive you. Arm yourself with the facts and lower your chances of pregnancy the safe, smart way.

  • Unprotected vaginal sex has the highest likelihood of resulting in pregnancy. Male sperm fertilizes the female egg, resulting in the growth of a fetus. Unprotected sex also carries a high risk of disease and infection.
  • Pulling out carries some risk of pregnancy. Studies show that typical use of withdrawal has a 18% chance of resulting in pregnancy.This is because some sperm may be released in the male’s pre-seminal fluid, or simply because the male doesn’t pull out quickly enough.
  • Unprotected anal sex by itself cannot result in unwanted pregnancy.[But because the anus and the vagina are extremely close to each other, there is a chance that sperm could accidentally leak into the vagina, causing pregnancy. Unprotected anal sex carries with it an increased likelihood of STIs, especially HIV/AIDS.
  • Oral sex cannot result in pregnancy. As long as the penis does not come in contact with the vagina, there is no possibility that oral sex can lead to unwanted pregnancy. The likelihood of transmitting some STIs, however, is increased with oral sex.

Understand the effectiveness of different forms of birth control. All birth controls are not created equal. Some work better than others, and some are preferred by different individuals for different reasons. It helps to know a little about what each form of birth control is, and how effective they are.

  • Wearing a condom fails about 17% of the time, mostly because of improper usage, and in rare cases, because of manufacturing error. If worn correctly however, condoms work more effectively than pulling out.
  • The pill and the patch, which avoid pregnancy by preventing the female’s ovulation cycle,have about an 8% chance of causing pregnancy with typical use. With proper usage, however, the pill has a 99% success rate in preventing unwanted pregnancy.
  • Intrauterine Devices, or IUDs, fail less than 1% of the time. They fall into either hormonal IUD, or copper IUD, and requires no upkeep. Some IUDs can stay in place for 10 years.

Use protection. Remember that many types of sexual intercourse can cause pregnancy. The best thing to do would be to talk about contraception choices with your partner before having sex, as there are many choices such as the birth control pill, condoms and spermicide.

  • If you aren’t comfortable enough with your partner to talk to him or her about protection, you aren’t ready to have sex with them. Make sure that you are fully educated about the effectiveness of all of the different types of birth control before making a decision.
  • If you are in doubt about your best options, visit your doctor. They aren’t allowed to tell anyone about what you spoke about, and will give you good advice. Don’t be embarrassed; they will have dealt with things like this many times before.

Make sure you know how to put on a condom. If you’re a girl, don’t leave it up to the guy to put it on, as he may object or try talking you out of it. Play it cool: If he says, “I don’t want to put a condom on,” just grin and respond with, “No worries – I’ll put it on for you!” Arm yourself with the knowledge of how to put one on properly and refuse to take no for an answer. And remember, if the guy you’re about to have sex with can’t be bothered to protect his and your health, get out of there and consider yourself lucky for dodging a bullet.

  • If you are worried about being caught unprepared then the best thing to do would be to go on the birth-control pill and/or to always have a condom in your bag.
  • Bear in mind that condoms are the only way to effectively protect yourself against STIs, or sexually transmitted infections. Do not let yourself be persuaded into having unprotected sex!
  • Condoms are often given away for free at places such as schools, colleges and family planning clinics. In many countries, birth control such as the pill or the injection are also available for free.

Make sure you know which types of contraception don’t consistently work. When you’re young it can be confusing to hear about all of the different types of birth control, and all of the rumours that come with it. Therefore it can be confusing to work out which ones are actually effective. So here are some of the methods you should avoid. These things do decrease the possibility of pregnancy slightly, but are not effective contraceptive techniques on their own:

  • Natural family planning. This is when you use your menstrual cycle, or temperature to help predict when you are ovulating and when you are least fertile. It requires commitment and is only effective if used correctly and tracked over time. It’s especially ineffective during your teenage years since teenage cycles can be erratic and therefor difficult to predict.
  • The withdrawal method. This is where the man has to ‘pull out’ before ejaculation. This is extremely unreliable since pre-ejaculation can leak out before he actually climaxes, which can then lead to pregnancy. As well as this is you’d have to trust him to control himself.

Don’t leave anything to chance. If you have had sex and either you didn’t use protection or your protection wasn’t effective (e.g. condom split) then don’t leave it to chance. Get hold of the Plan B contraceptive/morning after pill, which can prevent a possible pregnancy within 3 days of sexual intercourse (although the sooner you have it, the more effective it will be).

  • The morning after pill should not be used as a birth-control method, but as an emergency aid. It’s not healthy to consistently use.
  • Emergency contraception causes a short but strong burst of hormonal changes that prevent ovulation. It will not cause an abortion.[

Know what to do if a pregnancy occurs. If you think that there is a chance that you or your partner might be pregnant, you get a pregnancy test s soon as possible. These can be done for free at some pharmacists or by your doctor. It’s important to find out as soon as possible if you are pregnant because it leaves more options for what to do about it.

  • The only thing you’d be able to do to avoid a teenage pregnancy if you were pregnant is to abort te baby.
  • However, it’s important to be aware of other options available to you such as getting the baby adopted, or choosing to keep and raise the baby yourself.

Tips

  • Include your partner in your decisions. By making them aware of your concerns they are much more likely to be cooperative with you.
  • To cope with your natural urges, masturbate. Though this is treated as a given for guys, few girls are encouraged to do so – often because they’re told that it’s gross other that girls don’t do it. It isn’t and they do. Having fun with masturbation will not only help you satisfy your libido, but will also teach you about your own body and sexuality, making sex far better when you do have it.
  • The only way to be 100% safe from an unwanted pregnancy is to practice abstinence (having no sex at all), although this can be difficult in long term relationships.
  • There are ways to express affection for each other, and to be satisfied with each other, without having sex.
  • If you think you are uneducated about sex and contraception, then either find online resources

Warnings

While the contraceptives (birth control) listed are generally very effective, none of them are 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. It’s important to learn how to properly use them.

gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus.

The bacteria are mainly found in discharge from the penis and vaginal fluid from infected men and women.

Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through:

  • unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
  • sharing vibrators or other sex toys that haven’t been washed or covered with a new condom each time they are used

The bacteria can infect the cervix (entrance to the womb), the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body), the rectum and, less commonly, the throat or eyes. The infection can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby.

Gonorrhoea is not spread by kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats, or sharing cups, plates and cutlery, because the bacteria can’t survive outside the human body for long.

Signs and symptoms

Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating and bleeding in between periods in women.

However, around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women don’t experience any symptoms.

Getting tested

If you have any of the symptoms of gonorrhoea or you are worried you may have an STI, you should visit your local sexual health clinic  for a sexual health test.

Gonorrhoea can be easily diagnosed by testing a sample of discharge picked up using a swab. Testing a sample of urine can also be used to diagnose the condition in men.

It’s important to get tested as soon as possible because gonorrhoea can lead to more serious long-term health problems if it’s not treated, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)  in women, or infertility.

Treating gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection and a single antibiotic tablet. This treatment is very effective and most of your symptoms should improve within a few days.

It’s usually recommended that you attend a follow-up appointment a week or two after treatment so another test can be carried out to see if you are clear of infection.

You should avoid having sex until you have been given the all-clear.

Who is affected?

Anyone who is sexually active can catch gonorrhoea, especially people who change partners frequently or don’t use a barrier method of contraception such as a condom when having sex.

Previous successful treatment for gonorrhoea doesn’t make you immune from catching the infection again.

Preventing gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea and other STIs can be successfully prevented by using appropriate contraception and taking other precautions, such as:

  • using male condoms  or female condoms  every time you have vaginal sex, or male condoms during anal sex
  • using a condom to cover the penis, or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals, if you have oral sex
  • not sharing sex toys, or washing them and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them

If you are worried you may have an STI, visit your local  sexual health clinic for advice.

Genital wart

Genital warts are soft growths on the skin and mucus membranes of the genitals. They may be found on the penis, vulva, urethra, vagina, cervix, and around and in the anus. Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

causes of Genital warts.

  • Having unprotected sex
  • Having unprotected sex with many different people
  • Having sex with a person whose sexual history is unknown
  • Starting sexual relations at a young age.
  • Having  stress  and other viral infections (such as HIV or herpes ) at the same time

Symptoms

Genital warts can be so tiny, you cannot see them.

The warts can look like:

  • Flesh-colored spots that are raised or flat
  • Growths that look like the top of a cauliflower

In females, genital warts can be found:

  • Inside the vagina or anus
  • Outside the vagina or anus, or on nearby skin
  • On the cervix inside the body

In males, genital warts can be found on the:

  • Penis
  • Scrotum
  • Groin area
  • Thighs
  • Inside or around the anus

Genital warts can also occur on the

  • Lips
  • Mouth
  • Tongue
  • Throat

Genital warts pictures

More genital warts in men Genital warts on the side of the penis

Stay safe! You do not really want to catch this!

Sexually transmitted infections

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that you catch whilst you have sex. These include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, Genital warts, HIV, and lice. With some of these you do not actually have to have full intercourse with someone to catch them. Some can happen through touching and fingering each other’s bodies. There are also some infections which can be caught during sex but can also be caught in other ways – like ‘thrush’ (candida).

How to Avoid Being Raped

One in three  teenagers / women  experience sexual assault in their lifetime.  Rape is a horrible thing to experience. Once it happens to you, you don’t want to tell anyone, because you are afraid. Or you think people will think less of you after you tell them. While these attacks are not the fault of the victim, you can take some precautionary measures to keep yourself safe.

1. Trust your instincts. Don’t underestimate your own judgment. If you feel uncomfortable in someone’s company, avoid being secluded with them and be firm if coercion is attempted. Attackers will more often prey on people who look vulnerable and seem easily manipulated.

2.Bring a friend if you are going to a party or other event in a strange place. If you can’t bring someone you know, give a friend your phone number and expected time you’ll be home, and tell him or her that you’ll check in.

3.Keep an eye on your drink.  Date rapists can lace drinks with flavorless chemicals. Don’t go back to a drink if you’ve left it unattended, and don’t accept an open drink from a stranger (unless you saw it made at the bar or similar).

4. Walk with a friend .if possible, especially if you’re walking at night or in a remote location. If you’re going on a jog, bring a companion.

5.Stay Alert. by avoiding headphones (which impair your ability to hear ambient sounds), or hats that block your peripheral vision. Be aware of people in the area, ahead and behind you.

6. stick to populated or well lit areas .  if you need to walk alone. Avoid poorly lit areas, or areas with minimal escape routes.

7. Carry pepper spray  or a similar item for emergency self-defense.

8.Learn basic self -defense moves. Preparing yourself for a potential attack allows you to react better when faced with the fear and stress of the situation.

9. Move with confidence . Someone who looks purposeful and physically capable is a less appealing target.

10. Confront a pursuer.  If you know that someone is following you, turn and ask them the time. Get a good look at their face and overall appearance. Attackers prefer to target victims who haven’t seen their face.

11. Struggle and yell if attacked.

12.Understand that rape isn’t just committed by strangers, but by friends, relatives, and even colleagues, as well. Often victims will know and possibly trust their rapist prior to the offense.