Let’s talk STIs. Sexually Transmitted Infections. I know, totally not sexy. I get it. You only want certain types of dripping going on down there. But… we need to talk.
The middle class may be on life support, civility may be a relic of the past, the gender binary is fading out of existence, but the one thing thriving in the US is STIs. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are at epidemic proportions. Herpes and HPV are so common there are entire dating cites dedicated to people with these diseases. HIV/AIDS has infected nearly 80 MILLION people worldwide. So, STIs are something we all need to talk about.
The Myth of “Clean” or D/D Free
If you have been on most dating sites in the last decade, people post they are “clean” or D/D Free (meaning they do are not infected with any STI and do not use drugs). Le sigh. Alas, there is nothing but one’s need to be a good person preventing someone from advertising they are D/D on a dating site. Even when your soon-to-be sexual partner shows up with results from a clinic staying they have no STIs, there is no guarantee that they are really infection free.
If the person tested negative for the screens run at the local clinic and then had unprotected sex with someone else between the date of the test and the time you hook up they may have contracted something. If they were exposed to HIV within the three months prior to a test the results may not be accurate. Finally, very few clinics test for every possible STI. Most test for HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. A PAP smear will test a woman for HPV. Beyond that, most other STIs are not tested for at a regular screen.
So, unless you have been in a relationship where you and the other person are practicing safer sex for at least 3 months and not sleeping with anyone else, then get screened for the whole array of STIs, you don’t really know for sure that the person you are sleeping with is D/D free.
I Don’t Sleep with People Who Get STIs
Oh really? Are you sleeping with someone who has slept with other people in the last few years? They you are sleeping with someone who might get an STI. There is no profile for a person who is “not the STI type.” The kids at a high school in West Texas which focused on an “abstinence only” sex ed curriculum and had a bunch of “good” white middle-class teens had a massive chlamydia outbreak in 2015. Women of color are at higher risk for HIV than their white sisters. White women have astronomical rates of HPV and chlamydia. Lesbians pass around herpes faster than they pass around vegan “meatball” recipes.
Stop Saying Clean!!!!
Saying you are “clean” implies people with an STI are “dirty.” It is shaming for folks with STIs. Many STIs are treatable. Some you get for life and have to manage. Shaming someone with an STI is actually a way to make it more likely you will be exposed to one. If folks are ashamed to say, “Hey! You might want to know…” when you ask about STIs, then they are more likely to lie to you. If we work on making it acceptable to disclose health status without shame, we increase our community safety.
What’s a Girl to Do???
There are a few simple things everyone should think about to protect themselves.
- Wrap it up. Yes, condoms sucks. They smell, they take a second away from the moment, you have to to get them before you boink. No, they are not 100 percent effective in preventing all STIs or pregnancy. Condoms are a hell of a lot safer than not using them. Get over your “ick” factor and put one of those suckers on a dick or dildo or anal plug or beads before you stick them in somewhere. Why a dildo? Because you can’t be sure the thing was fully sterilized. Or, it might have been manufactured in a factory that also manufactures peanuts, so allergies….
- Get Tested Regularly. Take your ass into the clinic or doc and get tested. Do this every six months if you have multiple partners or switch it up. Most medium and large cities have free clinics which will do a screen for the major STIs. You can also ask your primary care doc to do this if you don’t find them to be a narcissistic shit-for-brains human (I might have an issue with the medical profession…). You need to know so you can keep healthy. Its well worth the time.
- Talk. Don’t assume anything. Ask. And then ask again. If they claim they are D/D free, ask when they were tested. Ask where they were tested. Ask if they have had sex since their last test. Look, we are not always honest about stuff. But if they say they were tested but can’t remember when or where, well then the test results are probably not up to date.
- Truvia (PReP). For those of us who like to slut it up a bit, PReP is a good thing to chat with your doc about. It is a daily pill that prevents you from becoming HIV positive if you are exposed to HIV. There are some side effects and if you have high blood pressure or a few other conditions, you will have to get those under control before taking it. BUT… we now have a daily pill that can significantly helps prevent HIV.
- Boil Your Junk. Not your junk you grew yourself. Your toys. Silicone and glass dildos, plugs, and such can be plunged into a stockpot of boiling water and sterilized (make sure there is no electrical parts that will be hurt by water). This is better than the dish washer or washing by hand. So, time to do a jacked up version of stone soup.
- Get Dedicated. Well, at least a few types of toys. Some stuff doesn’t sterilize well. Bamboo and ratan canes, fabric-based toys, needles, and similar things can’t be sterilized. If you have multiple partners, don’t be sharing the love bug. Dedicate your toy you can’t sterilize to one partner only.
But, I Can’t Afford to be Safe…
Not any more!!! Thanks to Jon Benorden in Sacramento, you can find your free jimmy caps and testing sites anywhere in the U.S. He created an app, CondomFinder. This is a free app for Droid and iPhones. You plug in your zip code and you get a list of every place near you giving away free safer sex supplies. It also gives you information about places to get tested for free and up-to-date STI information. Thanks Jon!!!!
I love all you kinky perverts. I love that you like to do nasty stuff. I want you to keep doing it for years to come without the itching, burning or life-ending infections that can come with being careless about safer sex. So, go get tested, grab a handful of free rubbers, and go to town on each other!!!