Sex is fun, well, it should be, at least most of the time. That first moment when everything is new and exciting. You get caught in the moment and before you know it: a) you’re back on the street at 01.00 at night and the hangover just started b) you wake up at 7.30, smelling the others breath and think Why o Why? Or c) you fall in love and 15 years later have two children and write a blog on infectious diseases…
But although the sex was fun (most of the time), sometimes you’re reminded that you forgot something. Maybe it was the last thing on your mind, maybe you trusted the person you were with. What did you “forget”: a Condom. What is the name of that kind reminder: Sexual Transmitted Diseases, in short STD.
Most of us are lucky we didn’t attract them, some are still thinking they were lucky and others, well they were less fortunate and got infected.
Let’s look at the STD’s/infectious diseases you don’t want to get after your fun night of sex and what the risk of getting it is. And for your benefit: I ranked it from most to least common.
1. Genital Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
In first place, winner of the golden medal during the Ugliest STD-Olympics, leading the charts of the most common STD has to be: Genital Warts. Dreaded by all of us (if not, you have a rare fetish). But most of us are actually already infected with this without having any symptoms. Worse yet, this is a virus that can cause cervical cancer in women and anal cancer in men (who got the infection by having sex with another man, the virus doesn’t travel from your penis to your anus). Bad news: once you have it, you never lose it. Good news: we have a vaccine nowadays so we can protect our children from getting these cancers through this virus. Vaccines save our day!
A very contagious runner up which most of us will know. It gives you discharge (for women different than normal, for man: you will know it is not semen). Women are the unlucky ones, because they can become infertile without ever having had symptoms. So, men and women: if you find out you have this, please let each other (or when you had a “busy” month: all of them) know. Easily cured with antibiotics, one pill and you’re done!
The bronze medal goes to…Tri…Trichomo… Trichomonisch… sorry what? Trichomoniasis. This STD is unkown by many, but good chance you or someone you know has had it without even knowing it. Not deadly, no infertility, bad itchings and smell, but most don’t need medication. So boring, NEXT!
Good old Gonorrhea, just missed the top 3 but that doesn’t ruin the fun for this fella. Men come with a nice discharge from the penis or pus – big surprise coming up – in their knee, I know, their knee…. This doesn’t mean they did something like “Kneeing” somebody, but the bacteria likes to travel to a joint. We can treat this with antibiotics, for now at least.
5. Genital Herpes
Ouch. Just so painful to even look at this. Really contagious, just think of the cold sore a lot of people suffer from, it’s the same virus. The thing with Herpes is that if the lesions are located on a different spot then what the condom covers, you can get infected. But the infected person will know he has lesions – crusted spots – so if he/she is really as nice as you say, they will tell you… Maybe check it while you’re down there… Cause you can never get rid of it, it will go away for a while, … until it’s back again.
The great mimicker who actually is getting back in the race now that people aren’t scared of attracting HIV any more. Classically, you get sick in 3 stages. First stage is an ulcer that doesn’t hurt and goes away eventually. Some will not even notice this first stage. Second stage is a skin rash that also involves your palms and footpad, will also go away in time. If that doesn’t lure you to a doctor yet, stage 3 is neurosyphilis: when it hits your brain. Yep, this little guy deserves a blog of his own (soon to come). For now, let’s just say that if you have it (tested in blood), antibiotics will cure you.
7. Hepatitis B
Depending on where you live this virus can be anywhere in the top 10. For example, most developed countries won’t have a lot of patients. There is a high chance of getting this, especially when there’s blood involved, easy peasy anal sex will do. Why? As you may know, the anus is not made to be stretched that way. Micro tears will turn up and they bleed. Blood contact with someone who is infected with hepatitis B gives you about 30% chance of getting it. This virus infects your liver and turns you yellow. Difficult to treat if you get the chronic version of the infection. So maybe at least wear a condom when doing anal sex or when your partner is menstruating? (or maybe without the question mark).
8. Human Immunodeficiency Virus
And last but certainly not least. HIV. Most famous, but actually you have a very small chance of getting it: the chances are 0.01%. And with modern medicine it is even less. Why is it still so nasty: it is incurable. Not a death sentence anymore – especially in the Western countries – like it was in the 80’s, more like a very nasty chronic illness that requires you to take medication. For some easy with one pill once a day, every day, for the rest of your life, for others more troublesome.
There you have it, the 8 most common Sexual Transmitted Diseases. Some are easily attracted, but also easily cured. Others are more complicated in every way. The bottom line is that you have to know you have it.
Let’s not judge each other, none of us are saints. If you had an “accident”, just go see your doctor and get tested. Nobody will think you’re a slut or stupid, trust me, we’ve seen it all many times (and far worse). Let’s make sex just about fun!