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Let’s Talk About Sex (and STDs), Baby

If you didn’t meet your significant other on the internet, then it is likely you met them at a show or a festival. We have seen many beautiful relationships blossom out of this scene: from overnight to long-term. Often times the connection is so instant and passionate it leads to a marvelous dance in the moonlight. (That’s a euphemism for knocking boots, the old horizontal shuffle, the birds and the bees…) We’re talking about sex, okay.

What ever you call it, it happens a lot, and often with disregard to the harm it can cause. While we don’t discourage sex, we want to remind people to put their safety first. Sexually Transmitted Diseases  (STDs) are actually on the rise at an alarming rate, according to a 2015 CDC report.

One could argue that the new “free love” generation of ravers could be attributing to the rise of reported STDs, but there isn’t enough evidence to support that. It’s more likely a complacency developed from falling numbers in STD cases throughout the last decade.

The three diseases that are making a huge come back are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Luckily, these are curable diseases; they usually take just a few pills or a shot to knock out. But they are exceedingly difficult to detect through symptoms alone. These diseases can be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t present with any symptoms of the disease. You could literally be carrying and spreading the disease for years with out ever having a single symptom.

This is where the complacency problem comes into play. So often through our sexual education we focus on the symptoms and how horrible they can be, and not enough on the chance you can have it without knowing. (This un-hashes a myriad of issues that we are not going to tackle here.) We are here to promote regular STD check-ups!

STD check-ups can often be a little nerve racking. They force you to look at your own sexual history, especially the encounters you regret or the ones you feel weren’t exactly safe. Remember, most of these diseases are curable or at the very least manageable. It’s important to be honest with yourself and your doctor.

Most tests require just a blood sample, urine sample, and/or swab test. Gonorrhea & Chlamydia can even be tested for with an at home test. From experience, these “labs” at the hospital take all of a half hour to complete, and you can usually get your results within a few days (sometimes, the same day).

If you are wondering how you can go about getting a STD check-up, call your doctor, or head to Planned Parenthood. They are an incredible resource of information. It’s also important for couples to have regular screenings (especially at the beginning of any relationship) to prevent unknown infections from festering. Like we stated before, some infections can be asymptomatic. Even when in this state, they can cause long term damage like Pelvic Inflammatory disease in woman, leading to infertility. Chlamydia in men can damage sperm and cause scarring in the reproductive tract which can lead to permanent infertility.

For your own health and the health of others around you, go and get tested. It’s a great opportunity to build a bond with your significant other because it is a testament to the care you have for one another. It’s also a great way to stop the spread of these diseases in our communities. Safety first!