First I just want to clarify: I do not have, nor have I ever had an STD. I use condoms religiously. When the dude doesn’t have any I can use, I provide my own. I get tested. I do not sleep with homeless people. Well, scratch that, I suppose Metalhead was homeless, but that’s a technicality… regardless, I don’t shack up with homeless people in oversized refrigerator boxes. I do not prostitute myself on Nebraska Avenue. I do not have sex with the prostitutes on Nebraska Avenue (nor do I have sex with those who do).
The idea for this series came from a local P.A. who suggested I write some information about the non-latex condoms. Hence “Please Don’t Put Lamb in My Vagina”. I decided to run with it and do a rundown of the more popular (for lack of better terminology) diseases one could contract if they DO have sex without condoms, with hookers, with homeless people, etc.
Because, you know, I can sit here and write about Prowl, Internet Dating, and my sordid love life (and I’m going to continue doing all of those things)… and all that’s very fun to do. But I wanna be serious for a minute. Or semi-serious. Anyway, for what it’s worth… here we go:
AKA: Chlamydia trachimatis, “The Clam”, “The Gooey Stuff”
What is it: The most frequently reported bacterial STD in the United States.
How it’s spread: Chlamydia is transmitted via oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse. Ejaculation is not required. Chlamydia can also be spread during childbirth from an untreated mother to her baby, resulting in pneumonia or conjunctivitis
Symptoms in Men: Most men don’t know they have this (only about 10% of men ever show symptoms). But if you ARE one of the lucky ones who show symptoms, it’s going to burn when you pee. Like you’re going to think you have a urinary tract infection. You’ll also have mucous and watery discharge coming out of your dick. And if that’s not awesome enough, you’re going to have pain in your balls, and they may even swell. And while maybe you want larger balls, this probably isn’t the way to go about it, no?
Symptoms in Women: Only about 5-30% of women develop symptoms. Since most women are usually infected via vaginal sex, the disease generally begins with signs of cervicitis (abnormal vaginal discharge, sometimes bleeding). You may feel like you have a UTI (which, btw, is why the doctors always ask if you’ve been tested when you go in for a UTI diagnosis). It’s particularly problematic in women, though, because if it’s not treated, it can spread into the reproductive tract, causing PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (either acute or asymptomatic) which can then cause ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. If you DO manage to get pregnant, it’s also be associated with pre-term delivery and conjunctivitis in newborns.
In both sexes, Chlamydia can also infect the rectum or the throat… and if that’s not fun enough, it can also cause conjunctivitis. So wash your hands before you touch your eyes after you’ve been playing with fluids, people.
How they test for it: Vaginal swabs or urine samples (if you don’t have a vagina).
Curable? Yep. With Antibiotics. But you should not have sex for a week (either after a single dose treatment or during the 7 day dose treatment). Meds will stop the infection, but it won’t reduce any permanent damage.
Because repeat infection is common, if you are infected and treated, have yourself tested again three months after to make sure you got rid of it all.
Also, you should inform all of your partners from the last 60 days. Sorry… sometimes you DO have to talk to each other again. Oh and that person you slept with at the party last week and you didn’t get their name? Yeah. You should probably figure that out, too. Because if you have it, chances are, so do they.
Prevention: Condoms. Duh. Oh, and you know… don’t sleep with random people. Don’t hire prostitutes. Don’t sleep with homeless people. Don’t be an idiot. Etc. (The CDC recommends abstinence, but I know we’re all adults here…) Also, if you are a woman, don’t douche. Or limit how often you douche. Douching can get rid of good bacteria, and increase the risk of infection should you be so unlucky to encounter someone that is infected.
AKA: Neisseria gonorrhoeae, The Clap, Racehorse, Drip
What is it: A bacterial infection that can infect the urethra in both men and women, the reproductive tract and mucous membranes in females, the eyes, the throat, the mouth and the ass. (You know… pretty much anywhere a dick can go… except the eyes…. Again WASH YOUR HANDS!)
How it’s spread: The penis, mouth, vagina, or ass of an infected individual. Ejaculation doesn’t have to occur. It can also be spread during childbirth from mother to infant.
Symptoms in Men: Many men are asymptomatic. IF you are one of the lucky few that get symptoms, it’s going to burn when you pee. About one to fourteen days after infection, you can have white, yellow, or green urethral discharge (it’s like snot coming out of your penis!). Some also have testicular or scrotal pain. If left untreated, this can cause infertility.
Symptoms in Women: Most women are asymptomatic. Generally symptoms, if they do have them, are very mild and unspecific (more like a UTI or Yeast infection). But if you do have symptoms, it’ll be like having a UTI, increased vaginal discharge, or bleeding between periods. Regardless of severity, women are at risk of developing reproductive complications.
For both genders, if you get an anal gonorrhea infection, symptoms may include discharge, itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. In the throat, you may get a sore throat, but generally you won’t feel a thing (I know that’s comforting).
How they test for it: Urine samples, vaginal swabs. Though if you’re a man, this is the one where they’ll probably stick a q-tip up your dick. Fun, huh?
Curable? Yes. With the right treatment. Though with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains, the CDC now recommends dual therapy. And you should take ALL your prescription, even if you start to feel better. Even then, because some strains of gonorrhea are becoming difficult to treat, if you don’t see improvement after a few days of taking your antibiotics, revisit your doctor. And for serious, tell your partners. Like any that you’ve had sex with (oral, vaginal, anal) within the last 60 days. Yeah, they’ll be pissed at you. But they’ll thank you later.
Prevention: Condoms, condoms, and more condoms. And don’t be an idiot. Probably a good idea not to have sex with people you don’t know, or homeless people, or prostitutes.
That said, though, I did do some research myself. I suck at math. I don’t do statistics. So I found someone to do the statistics for me. According to this very, very flawed method employed by another blogger, Mark Manson at markmanson.net, statistically, you’d have to sleep with 37 partners, unprotected, before you caught Chlamydia and 141 partners before you caught Gonorrhea. That’s fairly comforting, and I’m not going to be one of those stuffed-shirt people that say just don’t have sex (because, let’s face it, what’s the fun in that?).
But be smart about it. USE CONDOMS! GET YOURSELF TESTED REGULARLY, PEOPLE! I can’t stress enough how important this is. Because you know that hot guy or girl you met at a party that assured you they got tested last week and they’re definitely clean? Well, think about it… how do you know they’re telling the truth? You don’t. And with these lovely Silent Sisters being asymptomatic in most people, there’s no guarantee that they didn’t acquire it after testing (even if they WERE tested). Or that YOU aren’t carrying it yourself.