Sex and Sangria: STDS and e-Cards

Sex and Sangria: STDS and e-Cards

STD e-Cards: Caring Enough to Let You Know You Might Have Been Infected

As if the decision to be intimate with someone new after a divorce is hard enough, now daters have to wonder not only if their date will contact them again but just how they’ll do it. While most men and women hope for a flirty e-mail or a phone call, some are getting e-Cards but instead of sweet witty messages delivered by a cute animated character, recipients receive anonymous warnings they may have been exposed to an STD.

Not all that sexy, right?

Visitors of www.inSpot.org can choose from one of several cards to anonymously notify sex partners they may have been put at risk of being infected with everything from herpes to HIV. In case you aren’t aware of just how common infection is these days, a whopping 50,000-plus cards have been sent since the site’s 2004 launch (and it’s only now being heavily publicized!) While it’s not the most compassionate way of delivering the news, health officials say it’s better than never knowing at all.

Personally, we think it’s kind of slimy.

While abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to avoid a sexually transmitted disease, the idea of never having sex again is downright depressing to most adult men and women. So if you are going to be sexually active, be smart about it. Here are a few ways to protect yourself:

TIPS FOR AVOIDING AN STD

1. Speak Up!

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While talking about infections and needles is hardly foreplay, it’s necessary. Think about it; if you can’t ask a new partner what their testing history is or are too embarrassed to be sharing yours, should you really be having sex with them?

2. Use a Condom-Every Single Time You Have Oral/Vaginal or Anal Sex.

It never ceases to amaze me how many intelligent men and women meet someone new and hop into bed without protecting themselves. Let me say this loud and clear: Clean, beautiful, smart, intelligent, charming, attractive people can get STD’s.

3. Make Sure it’s The Right Kind of Condom.

Condoms made from Latex or Polyurethane (for those allergic to Latex) are recommended. Natural, known as “Lambskin” condoms do not effectively protect against STD’s.

4. Get Tested and Demand Your Partner Get a Test as Well.

According to Scarlett Johansson, getting tested for STD’s “Is part of being a decent human being.” In fact, the actress believes it is just disgusting behavior when people don’t. We couldn’t agree more. Contact your private physician or your local Planned Parenthood or community health center to schedule an appointment.

5. Don’t Kid Yourself.

Just because you don’t have any symptoms doesn’t mean you aren’t infected. Some STD’s show no symptoms at all in some people but can lead to infertility and other severe health problems.

6. Get Vaccinated.

Females under the age of 26 can get the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine and there are vaccines for both Hepatitis A and B. Getting these vaccines does not protect you from other STD’s. Think of them as supplemental and not a green light to be careless.

7. Educate Yourself.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans are infected with Herpes, 20 million men and women are infected with HPV, more than one million new cases of Chlamydia were reported in 2007 and Gonorrhea infections have increased with a new drug-resistant superbug on the rise. Shall I go on?

8. Finally, Know That Having a STD isn’t the end of the world.

There are millions of healthy, wonderful, smart, attractive men and women who have had an STD or are living full lives with one now. Reach out to your private physician or local community health clinic or Planned Parenthood facility to find counseling and health resources to help you educate yourself and take care of your health in the best possible way.

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