Look After Your Sexual Health & Avoid Proliferating STIs!
No doubt, you will stand aghast that it is estimated that 356,000 of Chlamydia . That so many people can suffer from an infection that is easily diagnosed and more easily treated says two things: 1) the public are ignorant to the risks of unsafe sex, and 2) the public are clearly treating their sexual health as a secondary consideration, only to be focused on when all hell is breaking loose in or on your genitals.
I must admit that I did not have my first STI check until early last year. I was 22. That leaves around 6 years of sexual activity (protected and unprotected) where I relied on my own uninformed sensory diagnosis of my sexual health. Recently I have realised that kind of ignorant optimism isn’t just extremely risky, but it is also incredibly selfish.
The fact of unprotected sex is unavoidable. Fits of passion are a reality of life, and sometimes the last thing on your mind is reaching for that lubricated sheaf. Similarly interrupting a heated moment with “I might just grab a condom” can also lead to unwanted awkwardness, especially if the answer is “no, don’t worry about it” and you find yourself needing to insist upon it.
If you are someone who has sex without a condom and you have numerous sexual partners, it is of critical importance that you go to a sexual health clinic to make sure that you haven’t picked something up, and equally that you aren’t spreading it as your take your fill of that most intimate of physical acts.
Many STI’s can remain dormant for long periods of time, or can be symptomless. Therefore you should make sure you are checked even if you look and feel A Ok. I tend to go for a check every 5 or so sexual partners (which might explain why it took 22 years for the first). That way I can easily discern who needs to be informed that they should probably go and get a check themselves. And don’t worry about that conversation, because everyone will be extremely appreciative that you are looking out for their health as well.
Why don’t people go to checkups more regularly? Well, it is not just selfishness, or willing ignorance. Going to a sexual health clinic can be a bit of a daunting experience. Too often sex, genitalia and the happenings of your personal parts is seen as a taboo subject. Too often people worry that they will be judged if people find out that they have attended a sexual health clinic. Well, we all have sex, and most of us have eschewed protection. Just as we need to look after our health, so too must we care for our sexual health. We need only to consider the need of tests to recognise that sexual health is an area that we should not rely on Dr Google.
We must help people recognise the importance of sexual health clinics, and also emphasise the fact that it is far nobler to go for a check-up and discover and treat an STI than it is to remain in the dark. How else could we tackle this big problem? Perhaps a program of high school sexual health clinics akin to a program of vaccination could help normalise people taking care of their sexual health. Surely this would be more useful than numerous crucial yet somewhat inadequate sex-ed classes.