Sex Column: Eyes on STIs
Hello my pretties.
The holidays have come to an end, in whatever form they took for you and yours — and theirs. Speaking of theirs, I’m sure we’ve all made some resolutions in 2012. But, if not then here’s one I’ll make for you: don’t get any STIs, boys and girls.
Oh sure, it sounds so obvious — always use a condom — blah, blah, blah. We’ve all heard it a thousand times. Well, apparently a thousand wasn’t enough because it is your demographic that’s still racking up the cootie count.
But, these aren’t imaginary little thingies you get when a boy or girl touches you on the playground as I’m sure we all know, right? Here are the facts, Jills and Jacks.
The provincial government has put together a strategic plan to discourage people from smashing pissers (or poopers) without any protection — Alberta Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood Borne Pathogens Strategy and Action Plan 2011–2016.
Oh yes, it’s been official for a while, they aren’t STDs any longer. When it comes to disease versus infection, I’m not sure which sounds better, but infection is more accurate. The first disease I think of is always Lou Gehrig’s disease, probably because it has disease in the unofficial name — never said I wasn’t simple.
Sexually transmitted infections in Alberta are on the rise in general, but particularly in 15- to 24-year-old men who have sex with men and in aboriginal peoples, according to the Alberta study.
Fact is, most STIs are treatable or curable. Because this is common knowledge many people don’t take the same precautions they did back when HIV first appeared.
This is serious folly and some AIDS activists believe it’s because HIV/AIDS has become more of a treatable condition, therefore people think it’s not such a biggie.
Stats from Alberta Health Services tell us that 219 cases of HIV were reported in 2009 and 38 new cases of AIDS were reported that same year.
Chlamydia has increased by 207 per cent from 1999 to 2009, with over 13,000 cases reported in 2009. Wanna know what it does to you? OK, I’ll tell you anyway.
Women can look forward to no symptoms 75 per cent of the time. Yay, right?
If you’re one of those chicks who wants to have babies and stuff then you don’t want to wait and see.
This infection causes scarring in many or all of your reproductive parts, which may prevent them from having a complication-free pregnancy or any pregnancy at all. Lady symptoms can include unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, painful sexual intercourse, fever, painful urination or the urge to urinate more often than usual.
Men can expect symptoms 50 per cent of the time and those include a burning sensation when taking a pee, unusual discharge (as opposed to the usual kind?), swollen balls, and a fever. No, this is not the flu.
Left untreated, it can lead to sterility in rare cases and chronic testicular pain, known as “acute onset scrotal pain,” which can last a lifetime.
Both men and women can also contract an eye disease caused by chlamydia called trachoma, which causes a roughening of the upper eyelid and can ultimately lead to blindness.
Isn’t there some old wives tale about going blind from too much sex… of some kind — eye sex? No, that can’t be it.
“So, what does all this mean?” You might ask while unconsciously shielding your genitals from the chlamydia that could attack at any moment.
It doesn’t mean that you’re all dirty, dirty people, it just means that bacterial infections are generally better evolved and smarter than you are.
So if you are having sex — even using condoms — you still need to take a little jaunt down to your friendly neighborhood sexual health clinic every once in a while. Everyone is there for the same reason, so don’t be afraid to look people in the eye… just don’t touch your eye to theirs, this is Alberta.