Disclaimer: I am not a professional! If you want to find a professional sex educator please look at my "Resources" page. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: FYsexeducationquestions, though check out my FAQ first!
I’m trying to compile a list of chatrooms for those of us who have STIs/STDs based in support and offering information. If you know of any chatrooms or resources let me know so it can be added to the list!
New Fact of the Day
The Gardasil vaccine has been shown to at least partially protect against an additional 10 strains of HPV! This means it does protect against more than 4 strains (which was how many we thought it protected against in the past. So yes, definitely get the vaccine! There are hundreds of strains but it definitely makes things safer.
Edit: It’s a fairly new research that proved this, you can read more about it here
TW: victim blaming, rape, sex shaming
Because a lot of people have been talking about this lately here is your quarterly reminder to not shame people for being sexually active or being sexual people and to not call women (or anyone else for that matter) “sluts” or any other related word unless they are reclaiming the word for themselves and you use it in a positive way that they gave their explicit permission for you to do.
If you are angry at someone and dislike them instead of going straight to calling them “sluts”, “hos”, “bitches” or any other word think about why you dislike them and then call them out on that. Did they cheat on your best friend? Just tell people that they cheated on your best friend! Do they not know how to have safer sex? Just tell people they don’t know how to have safer sex!
If you find that whatever the reason you dislike them is something that people call you out on “They got raped”, “They have an STI”, “They sleep with lots of people”, “They have one night stands”, “They have had an abortion” well then maybe you shouldn’t be calling people sluts.
Here’s the thing
This is a novel idea for some
HAVING SEX IS OKAY
Having a lot of sex is okay
Dealing with the repercussions of sex is okay (getting an STI, getting pregnant, dealing with a relationship or breakup)
Someone can get pregnant or get an STI the first time they have sex. It could be after being in a long lasting relationship, it could be after they’ve been married, they may have been born with an STI, or they may have been raped and sexually abused. It’s a slippery slope. Even if someone has tons of sex and never uses protection and has millions of STIs and abortions or adopts off all the babies or whatever you can’t judge them because you’re also going to be judging all the other people in similar situations. And chances are that person had next to no sex education and didn’t know any better and maybe had other problems going on as well.
The thing is we are human. Don’t judge someone for the amount of sex they have. Sex is fun. There are ways to have sex responsibly and chances are the people that don’t just had horrible sex education. How about we work towards making sure everyone has great sex education so that they can make informed decisions instead of making sex a shameful thing that usually just makes people hate themselves and have unsafe sex anyway while feeling incredibly guilty about it and making everything a million times worse.
People don’t get STI treatments or tests because they are ashamed
People don’t tell their partners they’ve had STI treatments because they are ashamed
People don’t get help for sexual abuse because they are ashamed
People stay in abusive relationships because they are ashamed
People don’t take care of themselves because they are ashamed
People hurt themselves because they are ashamed
People are forced into marriages or being parents or getting abortions when they don’t want to because they are ashamed
People think it’s okay for them to feel like crap because they deserve it because YOU shame them
So before you shame that person for having sex or taking pictures of themselves naked (or even people who never have had sex or never want sex) take a moment to think about what affect you’re having on the world.
Stop the cycle that makes people ashamed of their bodies and their urges (or lack thereof) and help people feel empowered enough to realize they deserve to have their needs taken care of and they deserve to do it in the safest way possible and they deserve to get treatment if something does happen and they deserve love and great sex AND a great life after.
It might interest you to know that 56% of people over the age of fourteen in the USA have herpes simplex 1 (oral herpes, which can also appear on the genitals), and 90% have no idea that they have herpes simplex 2 (genital).
Got a cold sore recently? That’s herpes. Not that bad, is it? Sure, the virus stays in your body for as long as you live, but it’s a manageable virus that doesn’t really cause any real complications, other than a bruised ego and a slight difficulty finding a meaningful romantic relationship, because some can be put off by it.
And the awesome thing about herpes simplex 1? It’s super-rare to get outbreaks. As in, only once every couple of years - sometimes less. I met a woman who had it, and while asking her some questions, she told met that she has only ever had 2 outbreaks her entire life - and she’s had it for fifteen years.
I’m sick of everyone making it sound like herpes is this horrible punishment for having sex. (another FYI? You can still get it, even if you wear a condom, although the risk of transmission is reduced to 50%) Everyone says, “I hope you get herpes!” Um, if they’ve ever had a cold sore - and an incredible amount of people get them - then they have herpes. Guess what also falls under the herpes virus family? Chicken pox, which nearly every child gets. Sure, herpes is uncomfortable when an outbreak is happening, but it’s NOT the end of the world.
Want to know an STI that would REALLY suck to have? HIV or AIDS. Want to know why? Because you can DIE from having that. Herpes is uncomfortable and embarrassing, but it’s not dangerous. Do you go around saying “I hope you get AIDS”? Of course not - because that’s basically hoping that they die, or come close to it, and that’s just NOT okay.
Moral of the story: herpes is annoying, but it’s not the worst STI you can have. And I’m sick of people making it seem like it is. Saying stuff like that around someone who has herpes? It hurts, yo. It makes them feel like a dirty low-life - which they aren’t, but you’re making them feel like they are.
So quit it.
Hey, we at K.I.S.S are dedicated to deconstructing mythology surrounding HIV, because misinformation leads to stigma, which leads to people not getting tested, which is what is keeping this disease around.
As Elton John said when he addressed the 2012 International AIDS Convention in DC, this disease is on its way to being cured medically, but it is the stigma surrounding HIV, a degree of stigma that prevents people from even getting tested or asking their partners if they know their HIV status, that is fueling the epidemic.
Want to know an STI that would REALLY suck to have? HIV or AIDS. Want to know why? Because you can DIE from having that.
1. There’s no HIV or AIDS. They are the same disease, AIDS is just the final stage, once the T-cell count drops below 200 t-cells per microliter of blood.
2. You don’t die from HIV, and you don’t die from AIDS. You die from pneumonia, or bronchitis, or the flu, or some other disease your body is unable to fight off because of your low t-cell count.
3. If you have access to and can afford ARV medication (there’s the rub) and stay on top of your regimen, you can live a long, healthy, productive, normal life with HIV. You can have a normal sex life, a normal marriage, a normal family (whatever normal is). You can have fun, go to college, have a career you love, and live a full and happy life. HIV is not a death sentence.
No, herpes is not a punishment for having sex, and neither is HIV. I really encourage everyone to search through the HIV tag on tumblr and check out some + bloggers who are expressing themselves and how they handle their disease. And remember, pity is a step above ridicule. Learn and love.
My first partner of 2 1/2 years had HSV1 (orally), they had it since they were a child and it was active well into their 20’s through a combination of poor diet and poor immune health. Never once did it occur to either of us to not kiss during an outbreak, much less engage in oral sex, nor did anyone ever tell us there was any risk of transmission.
Myth of the Day 59
Myth: I can’t have children because I have genital herpes and will pass it on to my baby when I give birth.
Fact: If you are not having an outbreak during the birth, there is generally no virus present in the birth canal to infect the baby. It is, however, possible that a newborn baby can be infected with the herpes virus if your infection is active at the time of birth. In rare cases, this is avoided by performing a caesarean section to reduce the contact between the infection and the baby. Please talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Myth of the Day 58
Myth: I get a PAP smear, am tested for STDs annually and my results have always been negative, so I don’t have genital herpes.
Fact: Type-specific serology tests and viral cultures are the best way to diagnose genital herpes and are not normally conducted during a woman’s annual examination. PAP smears do not detect herpes simplex virus infections. Also, a herpes test is not included in the standard regime of STD tests. If you are concerned that you may have genital herpes, ask your healthcare provider specifically to test you for genital herpes.
Myth of the Day 57
Myth: Genital herpes can make me sterile.
Fact: Genital herpes cannot make you sterile. However, chlamydia and some other sexually transmitted diseases can cause sterility, especially if they go untreated. It is a good idea to be tested for these, and all STDs on a regular basis, as well as always using safer sex barriers (condoms and dental dams) during sex.
Myth: I have just been diagnosed with herpes. I can’t tell anyone or they will not want to have anything to do with me.
Fact: The fears that surround talking about this virus are greater than actually talking about it. Educating yourself about the virus, and learning how to talk to others about it, is vital. Please see our Herpes Foundation Teleclasses for help in these areas.
Want to learn more? Visit our Safer Sex page.
Myth of the Day 51
MYTH: You can tell by looking if you or someone else has an STD / I would know if I had an STD.
FACT: Many STDs, including HIV, often show no symptoms, so many people who have an STD do not know it.. In fact, 1 in 2 sexually active people will get an STD by age 25 and most won’t know it. You also can’t tell if someone else has an STD by looking. The only way to know for sure is to get yourself tested.
Some STDs are so common among teens and young adults that annual testing is recommended. For example, all sexually active young women should be tested every year for chlamydia, which silently affects millions of people, but can leave women infertile (unable to have kids). There are other common STDs for which doctors may not routinely test. Talk to your health care provider about what testing is right for you.