Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections in Singapore are becoming more and more common. Correct use of condoms can prevent lifelong health problems.

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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are becoming more common in Singapore and around the world. It’s important for sexually active people to gain knowledge about STIs, so they can prevent them or seek treatment if they do get infected.

Unfortunately, there are many myths about STIs. For instance, many people believe that STIs can be transmitted on toilet seats. In reality, very few illnesses can be transmitted in this way. The one disease that can, molluscum contagiosum, is a minor illness that the body can clear on its own; it’s not strictly a sexually transmitted infection, because it can infect any part of the body (not just the genital area), and is commonly transmitted on objects such as towels. Other STIs, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, cannot be transmitted on objects such as toilet seats, because the organisms that cause them are unable to survive outside of a human body for very long.

Many people also believe that sexually transmitted infections are transmitted only through sexual intercourse, meaning vaginal sex. Many also realize that anal sex can transmit STIs. However, it’s important to know that oral sex can also transmit STIs. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, HIV, and other STIs can be acquired through oral sex. Performing oral sex on a man is more likely to transmit STIs than is performing oral sex on a woman, but either activity can transmit STIs. For some STIs, the receiver can get the infection from the giver; for instance, someone with cold sores (oral herpes) can give genital herpes to a partner by performing unprotected oral sex on them. Certain STIs, such as trichomoniasis, can even be transmitted on sex toys that are shared and aren’t cleaned between uses. While oral sex and using sex toys are less dangerous activities than vaginal and anal sex, they still carry a risk of transmitting infections that could affect your health for the rest of your life.

You’ve probably heard that the best way to prevent STIs is either complete abstinence from sex or restricting yourself to a single, mutually monogamous sexual relationship. These methods are very effective at preventing STIs, but for many people, the cost is too high. Those who want to enjoy sex but don’t want to risk their health need another option.

Condoms can allow for safer sex. The effectiveness of condoms is fairly high, but using discretion about who you choose to have sex with is still important. In Singapore, animal skin condoms (such as lambskin) are widely available, but don’t work to prevent STIs (and are only partially effective at preventing pregnancy). Choose latex instead.

There are both male condoms and female condoms. Male condoms fit snugly over the penis; they should be rolled onto the penis after it’s erect. A drop of lubricant can be placed into the condom before putting it on to enhance the man’s experience of sex and to help keep the condom from breaking. Lubricant should also be rubbed over the outside of the condom to keep it from breaking. Make sure you use water-based lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly or Astroglide), rather than oil-based (such as hand lotion, Vaseline, or baby oil), because oil-based lubricants can damage condoms and cause them to tear.

Female condoms fit inside the vagina; they give the woman more control over the sexual encounter, but if there’s a choice between the two types of condoms, male condoms are somewhat better at preventing STIs. However, if you’re a woman, keeping some female condoms around can allow you to protect yourself. Don’t use both a male and a female condom at the same time, because they tend to stick together and pull each other off.

Categories: Sexually Transmitted Infection
2015 July 31st   Leave a comment

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