A Quick Chat About Sexual Health

We want everyone to have a great time, and one of the ways we want to encourage that is to ensure that everyone has the information they need to maintain their sexual health. A lot of people getting into the dating scene do worry about sexually transmitted infections – especially if they’ve been in a long term relationship and are only recently coming back into the wilds, so to speak.

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to get informed with all the facts you need. With that knowledge can only come the confidence you need to take a proactive role in keeping safe and managing your relationships in an adult and responsible way.

Your biggest leap forward therefore is to be absolutely clear that safe sex means using condoms. Both men and women need to be comfortable with buying them, keeping them around, being able to talk about them with any potential partners – and above all, to use them. They come in all sorts of sizes, and just as importantly, can be made in both latex and non-latex versions – meaning there really is no excuse, even if you or your partner has a latex allergy.

Secondly, you need to be sure to get tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) if you ever have unprotected sex with someone new. Talk to your doctor or nurse about it and don’t worry about it – they’re all trained to talk and advise you about this vital area of your health.

Contrary to popular myth, most STIs have no readily visible symptoms, so you usually can’t tell just by looking. Asking someone straight out if they’ve ever had an STI will usually get you a straightforward answer.

Fortunately, most STIs are easy to test and diagnose using little more than a urine sample or a swab for women. The most common bacterial infection is Chlamydia, which is found across all age groups. Most people don’t even realise they have it, but some women experience bleeding after making love or between periods and pelvic pain, while both men and women also experience pain when urinating. Getting it detected and treated quickly is the key to  preventing worse symptoms, and a simple course of antibiotics is usually enough to clear it up if caught in time.

More obvious infections such as genital warts or herpes are also easily treated, and any clinic treating you will also treat your partner at the same time so that you don’t pass infections back between each other.

HIV is still relatively rare, but infection rates have been rising in recent years between partners of all genders. If you have a concern, then talk to your doctor to work out the best course of action.

Remember that communication is the key to preventing and dealing with infections. This means not only how you talk with your doctor, but more importantly with you partners. Information is power, and in this case it really can make a huge difference to your life.