Sex is a perfectly normal activity. Not only is it pleasurable, but it is also good for you; from lowering stress levels to risk of cancer and heart attacks it boosts your overall health
HOWEVER, it is critical that you always practice safe sex, whether you are in a committed relationship or simply having fun experimenting. Here is some guidance for practicing safe sex if you are:
NOT IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP, it is very important for your health that you wear a condom, as charming and handsome as the man may be, you do not know his medical or relationship history.
IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP: (This means you and your partner are exclusive and are NOT sleeping with other people.) First you should both get yourselves tested for any STDs, once you have ensured both of you are healthy, you can have sex without a CONDOM. However, if you are NOT ready to have children, it is recommended you use some form of contraception (see below).
We know that you might not always have accessibility to best form of contraception, but it is important you speak to your doctor to find out which might be best for you as well as being available in your area.
Here is a list of effective contraception:
PILL: This is a pill that you take orally . It contains hormones that stop ovulation, thins uterine lining and thickens cervical mucus which prevents pregnancy. There are several types of contraceptive pills:
- Combined contraceptive pill: taken orally once a day for three weeks, followed by a one week gap during which you will have your period.
- Mini pill: taken every day – there is no seven day break.
COIL: The intrauterine device (IUD) or ‘coil’ is a small plastic (or plastic and copper) device, not much longer than a match, which is placed inside your womb, where it prevents you from getting pregnant.
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: a very safe and effective emergency contraceptive that can be taken after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy
CONDOMS: a “barrier” method of contraception. They are designed to prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm from meeting an egg. They can also protect against sexually transmitted disease if used correctly during vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including:
CHLAMYDIA: caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect both men and women. Women can get chlamydia in the cervix, rectum, or throat through oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the infection. A woman can also pass chlamydia to her baby during childbirth.
SYMPTOMS:Abnormal vaginal discharge, which may have a strong smell, burning sensation when urinating and pain during intercourse
TREATMENT: Simple course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. If you continue to go untreated, this could result in infertility.
HIV/AIDS: HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts you at risk for serious infections and certain cancers. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection with HIV. Not everyone with HIV develops AIDS. HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth.
SYMPTOMS: The first signs of HIV infection may be swollen glands and flu-like symptoms. These may come and go within two to four weeks. Severe symptoms may not appear until months or years later. You should not assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptoms. If you are worried about having contracted HIV, get tested at your nearest clinic
TREATMENT: Antiviral drugs will be prescribed by your doctor after diagnosis, these will prevent HIV from turning into AIDS. Lifestyle changes can also help along side the drugs, such as diet and exercise.
GENITAL HERPES: causes sores on your genital or rectal area, buttocks, and thighs. You can get it from having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has it. The virus can spread even when sores are not present. Mothers can also infect their babies during childbirth.
SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of herpes are called outbreaks. You usually get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. The sores are blisters which break and become painful, and then heal. Sometimes people do not know they have herpes because they have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
TREATMENT: No drug can get rid of the herpes virus. Doctors may prescribe an antiviral, such as acyclovir, which prevents the virus from multiplying. Antiviral medications will help the outbreak clear up faster and will also help reduce the severity of symptoms.