Tag Archives: Safe sex

HIV and STD Risks From Sexual Activities Other Than Intercourse

Introduction – HIV and STD risks

This blog focuses on your HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse. It is the sixth blog in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • To read a discussion of HIV being eliminated from the body, click here.
  • For an explanation of what HIV and AIDS are, click here.
  • For an explanation how HIV and AIDS are contracted, click here.
  • To learn about signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS, click here.
  • Also, for an explanation of the risk of contracting HIV from specific acts of sexual intercourse, click here.

activities without HIV and STD risks of transmission

Today, your sexual IQ goes up, and hopefully your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, goes down.

First of all, here are some terms you should understand.
Rimming: oral-anal contact
Fingering: digital sexual stimulation

Next, let’s review.

HIV and STD Risks

Performing Oral Sex On A Man

  • You can get HIV by performing oral sex on your male partner. The risk is not as pronounced as it is with unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but oral sex clearly is a mode of transmitting HIV.
  • You are also at risk for getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using condoms during oral sex reduces the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
  • You reduce the risk of contracting HIV from oral sex if your male partner does not ejaculate in your mouth.
  • You reduce the risk of contracting HIV from oral sex if you do not have open sores or cuts in your mouth.

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man

  • The risk of contracting HIV is less with receiving oral sex than many other sexual activities, but it is still present.
  • You reduce the risk of contracting HIV from receiving oral sex if you do not have open sores or cuts on your penis.
  • Oral sex also presents a risk of contracting other STIs, most notably herpes.

Performing Oral Sex On A Woman

  • Significant levels of HIV have been found in vaginal secretions. There is a risk of contracting HIV from this activity. Fortunately, the risk is not as great with other sexual activities.
  • You can contract other STIs from performing oral sex on a woman.
  • Furthermore, there are effective barriers you can use to protect yourself from contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids. You can  use dental dams or non-microwaveable plastic wrap to protect against HIV and other STIs. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic wrap that can be microwaved will not protect you—viruses are small enough to pass through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman

  • The risk for contracting HIV while receiving oral sex is significantly lower than for unprotected vaginal sex, but it is still present.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs while receiving oral sex.
  • There are effective barriers you can use (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)

  • The risk of contracting HIV by rimming is very low but comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum or vagina.
  • The use of medical-grade gloves and water-based lubricants during fingering eliminates this risk.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask questions or provide comments. I cannot more highly endorse the websites at cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Follow us!

Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

Introduction – HIV and STD risks

Illustration of activities and STD risks

This blog focuses on your HIV and STD risks from specific acts of sexual intercourse. It is the fifth blog in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • To read a discussion of HIV being eliminated from the body, click here.
  • For an explanation of what HIV and AIDS are, click here.
  • For an explanation how HIV and AIDS are contracted, click here.
  • To learn about signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS, click here.

Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.

What we hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.

Sexual activity terminology

Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

Educate yourself about lowering your HIV and STD risks.

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contacts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.

Follow us!

Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Living With An Incurable Sexually Transmitted Infection

STD living well

You’ve requested it, and it’s only fair. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs, STIs). It’s reasonable to discuss living with an STD. The first point to appreciate is most STDs can be treated; that’s been discussed at length in several previous posts. Next you should understand that those that can’t be treated don’t represent a death sentence. STDs are simply diseases. To be clear you will need to make adjustments to your life, and this Straight, No Chaser will discuss those.
Even if you were irresponsible in acquiring an STD, you must learn to be responsible in managing it once it’s known that you have an incurable STD such as HPV or HIV/AIDS. Refer back to the Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide for details.

std incurable

There are important differences between managing different diseases. Putting HIV/AIDS aside momentarily, consider the following general considerations regarding herpes or HPV.

  • You can live a mostly normal life with these conditions. Unless you’re in the midst of a herpes outbreak or are showing the warts of HPV, you will appear normal. Every other positive attribute you possess will still be intact. Use that positivity to help you through.
  • It’s only fair and reasonable to have a conversation with existing and/or new sexual partners about your condition. You and your partner should meet with your physician to discuss risks and possibilities. You will want this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to do moving forward.
  • If you are showing symptoms or in the midst of an outbreak, you should avoid any sexual activity.
  • Unless you’re in the midst of an outbreak, you can have sex. Remember that these STDs can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms, so please protect yourself and your partner.

A really reasonable way to think about having sex with an incurable STD is to think about kissing someone with a cold or the flu. You could still do it, but you’re likely to be at risk. When the symptoms aren’t there, your partner could still be a carrier of the disease and could still give you the disease. Your better course of action is to wait until all symptoms are gone and then still be careful.

std living facts

You have to simultaneously appreciate that your life will be approximately normal, even as you’ve had a significant change. Even as you get about living the rest of your life, you should be aware of risks that can cause an outbreak.

  • Of course intercourse is a very risky activity. Couples who have been exposed to one STD are likely to have been exposed to multiple. You don’t want to “ping-pong” diseases between you and your partner. Follow the recommended guidelines for having and avoiding sex based on your symptoms.
  • Surgery, trauma or any cause of a reduced immune system can produce an outbreak. If you’re diabetic, on steroids, have lupus or other conditions that affect the immune system, have a conversation with your physician.

STD living

At some point, you’ll get over the guilt and shame associated with having an untreatable STD and start focusing on the rest of your life. Be sure to live that life so it’s not causing more damage along the way; out of sight can’t be out of mind with an incurable STD. Be especially mindful of your risks of giving your partner your disease, both from specific acts of intercourse and from other sexual activities besides intercourse. Remember, these diseases all affect more than sex; managing these diseases is managing your health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection, should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
sex-toys-300x285
ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Sexual Activities Other Than Intercourse

sexual-risk-factors-2

Today, your sexual IQ goes up, and hopefully your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, goes down.
This is the fifth  post in a series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.
  • For an explanation of the risk of contracting HIV from specific acts of sexual intercourse, click here.

Here are some terms you should understand.
Rimming: oral-anal contact
Fingering: digital sexual stimulation
Now let’s review.

xoxo_logo_900px_en-jpg

Performing Oral Sex On A Man

  • You can get HIV by performing oral sex on your male partner. The risk is not as pronounced as it is with unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but oral sex clearly is a mode of transmitting HIV.
  • You are also at risk for getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using condoms during oral sex reduces the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if your male partner does not ejaculate in your mouth.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts in your mouth.

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man

  • The risk of contracting HIV is less with receiving oral sex than many other sexual activities, but it is still present.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from receiving oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts on your penis.
  • Oral sex also presents a risk of contracting other STIs, most notably herpes.

Performing Oral Sex On A Woman

  • Significant levels of HIV have been found in vaginal secretions, so there is a risk of contracting HIV from this activity, although the risk is not a great with other sexual activities.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs from performing oral sex on a woman.
  • There are effective barriers you can use to protect yourself from contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids. You can  use dental dams or non-microwaveable plastic wrap to protect against HIV and other STIs. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic wrap that can be microwaved will not protect you—viruses are small enough to pass through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman

  • The risk for contracting HIV while receiving oral sex is significantly lower than for unprotected vaginal sex, but it is still present.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs while receiving oral sex.
  • There are effective barriers you can use (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)

  • The risk of contracting HIV by rimming is very low but comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum or vagina.
  • The use medical-grade gloves and water-based lubricants can during fingering eliminates this risk.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask questions or provide comments. I cannot more highly endorse the websites at cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

stirisks

Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.
This is the fourth in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.

What I hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.
Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

lower-sex-risk-2

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contracts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Living With An Incurable Sexually Transmitted Infection

STD living well

You’ve requested it, and it’s only fair. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs, STIs). It’s reasonable to discuss living with an STD. The first point to appreciate is most STDs can be treated; that’s been discussed at length in several previous posts. Next you should understand that those that can’t be treated don’t represent a death sentence. STDs are simply diseases. To be clear you will need to make adjustments to you life, and this Straight, No Chaser will discuss those.
Even if you were irresponsible in acquiring an STD, you must be learn to be responsible in managing it once it’s known that you have an incurable STD such as HPV or HIV/AIDS. Refer back to the Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide for details.

std incurable

There are important differences between managing different diseases. Putting HIV/AIDS aside momentarily, consider the following general considerations regarding herpes or HPV.

  • You can live a mostly normal life with these conditions. Unless you’re in the midst of a herpes outbreak or are showing the warts of HPV, you will appear normal. Every other positive attribute you possess will still be intact. Use that positivity to help you through.
  • It’s only fair and reasonable to have a conversation with existing and/or new sexual partners about your condition. You and your partner should meet with your physician to discuss risks and possibilities. You will want this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to do moving forward.
  • If you are showing symptoms or in the midst of an outbreak, you should avoid any sexual activity.
  • Unless you’re in the midst of an outbreak, you can have sex. Remember that these STDs can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms, so please protect yourself and your partner.

A really reasonable way to think about having sex with an incurable STD is to think about kissing someone with a cold or the flu. You could still do it, but you’re likely to be at risk. When the symptoms aren’t there, your partner could still be a carrier of the disease and could still give you the disease. Your better course of action is to wait until all symptoms are gone and then still be careful.

std living facts

You have to simultaneously appreciate that your life will be approximately normal, even as you’ve had a significant change. Even as you get about living the rest of your life, you should be aware of risks that can cause an outbreak.

  • Of course intercourse is a very risky activity. Couples who have been exposed to one STD are likely to have been exposed to multiple. You don’t want to “ping-pong” diseases between you and your partner. Follow the recommended guidelines for having and avoiding sex based on your symptoms.
  • Surgery, trauma or any cause of a reduced immune system can produce an outbreak. If you’re diabetic, on steroids, have lupus or other conditions that affect the immune system, have a conversation with your physician.

STD living

At some point, you’ll get over the guilt and shame associated with having an untreatable STD and start focusing on the rest of your life. Be sure to live that life so it’s not causing more damage along the way; out of sight can’t be out of mind with an incurable STD. Be especially mindful of your risks of giving your partner your disease, both from specific acts of intercourse and from other sexual activities besides intercourse. Remember, these diseases all affect more than sex; managing these diseases is managing your health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection, should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
sex-toys-300x285
ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Sexual Activities Other Than Intercourse

sexual-risk-factors-2

Today, your sexual IQ goes up, and hopefully your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, goes down.
This is the fifth and last post in a series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.
  • For an explanation of the risk of contracting HIV from specific acts of sexual intercourse, click here.

Here are some terms you should understand.
Rimming: oral-anal contact
Fingering: digital sexual stimulation
Now let’s review.

xoxo_logo_900px_en-jpg

Performing Oral Sex On A Man

  • You can get HIV by performing oral sex on your male partner. The risk is not as pronounced as it is with unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but oral sex clearly is a mode of transmitting HIV.
  • You are also at risk for getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using condoms during oral sex reduces the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if your male partner does not ejaculate in your mouth.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts in your mouth.

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man

  • The risk of contracting HIV is less with receiving oral sex than many other sexual activities, but it is still present.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from receiving oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts on your penis.
  • Oral sex also presents a risk of contracting other STIs, most notably herpes.

Performing Oral Sex On A Woman

  • Significant levels of HIV have been found in vaginal secretions, so there is a risk of contracting HIV from this activity, although the risk is not a great with other sexual activities.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs from performing oral sex on a woman.
  • There are effective barriers you can use to protect yourself from contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids. You can  use dental dams or non-microwaveable plastic wrap to protect against HIV and other STIs. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic wrap that can be microwaved will not protect you—viruses are small enough to pass through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman

  • The risk for contracting HIV while receiving oral sex is significantly lower than for unprotected vaginal sex, but it is still present.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs while receiving oral sex.
  • There are effective barriers you can use (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)

  • The risk of contracting HIV by rimming is very low but comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum or vagina.
  • The use medical-grade gloves and water-based lubricants can during fingering eliminates this risk.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask questions or provide comments. I cannot more highly endorse the websites at cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

stirisks

Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.
This is the fourth in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.

What I hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.
Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

lower-sex-risk-2

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contracts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Living With An Incurable Sexually Transmitted Infection

STD living well

You’ve requested it, and it’s only fair. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs, STIs). It’s reasonable to discuss living with an STD. The first point to appreciate is most STDs can be treated; that’s been discussed at length in several previous posts. Next you should understand that those that can’t be treated don’t represent a death sentence. STDs are simply diseases. To be clear you will need to make adjustments to you life, and this Straight, No Chaser will discuss those.
Even if you were irresponsible in acquiring an STD, you must be learn to be responsible in managing it once it’s known that you have an incurable STD such as HPV or HIV/AIDS. Refer back to the Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide for details.

std incurable

There are important differences between managing different diseases. Putting HIV/AIDS aside momentarily, consider the following general considerations regarding herpes or HPV.

  • You can live a mostly normal life with these conditions. Unless you’re in the midst of a herpes outbreak or are showing the warts of HPV, you will appear normal. Every other positive attribute you possess will still be intact. Use that positivity to help you through.
  • It’s only fair and reasonable to have a conversation with existing and/or new sexual partners about your condition. You and your partner should meet with your physician to discuss risks and possibilities. You will want this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to do moving forward.
  • If you are showing symptoms or in the midst of an outbreak, you should avoid any sexual activity.
  • Unless you’re in the midst of an outbreak, you can have sex. Remember that these STDs can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms, so please protect yourself and your partner.

A really reasonable way to think about having sex with an incurable STD is to think about kissing someone with a cold or the flu. You could still do it, but you’re likely to be at risk. When the symptoms aren’t there, your partner could still be a carrier of the disease and could still give you the disease. Your better course of action is to wait until all symptoms are gone and then still be careful.

std living facts

You have to simultaneously appreciate that your life will be approximately normal, even as you’ve had a significant change. Even as you get about living the rest of your life, you should be aware of risks that can cause an outbreak.

  • Of course intercourse is a very risky activity. Couples who have been exposed to one STD are likely to have been exposed to multiple. You don’t want to “ping-pong” diseases between you and your partner. Follow the recommended guidelines for having and avoiding sex based on your symptoms.
  • Surgery, trauma or any cause of a reduced immune system can produce an outbreak. If you’re diabetic, on steroids, have lupus or other conditions that affect the immune system, have a conversation with your physician.

STD living

At some point, you’ll get over the guilt and shame associated with having an untreatable STD and start focusing on the rest of your life. Be sure to live that life so it’s not causing more damage along the way; out of sight can’t be out of mind with an incurable STD. Be especially mindful of your risks of giving your partner your disease, both from specific acts of intercourse and from other sexual activities besides intercourse. Remember, these diseases all affect more than sex; managing these diseases is managing your health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection, should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
sex-toys-300x285
ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight No Chaser In the News: About that "Smart Condom"

SexItSmart_645_471

In the news is the concept of the smart condom, a prophylactic meant to identify the presence of STDs in real-time (meaning during sex). Let’s think this through. First, knowing this was developed by a group of teenage students is fascinating and raises a lot of questions, a few of which I’ll ask and answer. I would love to have been in the room during the first production meeting just to enjoy the dynamic between the kids and the adults…
So! We’ll make this “smart condom.” It’s going to detect various STDs!

  • Cynical, Straight, No Chaser-type doctor: Well, what would really be smart is getting checked for STDs before the decision is made to have sex.

Nope. You’ve got to meet people where they are. No one has time for that!

  • So what you’re saying is folks will engage in foreplay during which the condom will be used as a dipstick to determine the presence of a STD.

Coloured condoms
No, Doc. Nobody’s stopping during foreplay! During sex, the condoms will glow various colors if a STD is detected. Let’s say green for chlamydia, yellow for herpes, purple for HPV (human papilloma virus, the cause of genital warts) and blue for syphilis.

  • Where do I start… so the condoms will glow during intercourse. Are we expecting the participants to take an immediate break during the initiation of sex to check on this?
  • Or how about this: if you have a green glow, how do you know chlamydia is present instead of a combination of syphilis and herpes (because a mixture of blue and yellow pigments produces green)? Keep in mind, the individual with one STD is much more likely to have multiple STDs.
  • Plus, I’m not sure of the utility for HPV. About 75% of us have it anyway and there’s no treatment. This is another argument for prevention even more than detection.

Sigh. Why are you being difficult? It’s better for people to know whenever they can, so the STD can be identified and people can be prompted to go in for evaluation!

  • You could be right, and it’s good to protect the innocent, but your premise flies in the face to the reality of many individuals prone to contract STDs.
    • They tend not to use condoms at all.
    • Their behavior isn’t curbed by the presence of an STD.
    • Knowledge of an STD isn’t necessary a prompt for treatment for an STD.
    • Anyone conscientious enough to use a smart condom is probably smart enough to have gotten him or herself and any partner tested prior to engaging in sex.

Well do you have any better ideas?
Actually, I support the idea as an option. Anything used to help identify STDs is a good public health initiative, and even periodic use by allegedly monogamous couples would be a good deal. But could we enhance it? How about a electric zapper connected to the condom prompted by the chemical reaction? If the condom was really smart, it would make you stop having sex!
Doc, don’t you have a patient or something to do? Meeting’s over!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd. Preorder your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com.

Straight, No Chaser: Living With An Incurable Sexually Transmitted Infection

STD living well

You’ve requested it, and it’s only fair. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs, STIs). It’s reasonable to discuss living with an STD. The first point to appreciate is most STDs can be treated; that’s been discussed at length in several previous posts. Next you should understand that those that can’t be treated don’t represent a death sentence. STDs are simply diseases. To be clear you will need to make adjustments to you life, and this Straight, No Chaser will discuss those.
Even if you were irresponsible in acquiring an STD, you must be learn to be responsible in managing it once it’s known that you have an incurable STD such as herpes, HPV or HIV/AIDS. Refer back to the Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide for details.

std incurable

There are important differences between managing different diseases. Putting HIV/AIDS aside momentarily, consider the following general considerations regarding herpes or HPV.

  • You can live a mostly normal life with these conditions. Unless you’re in the midst of a herpes outbreak or are showing the warts of HPV, you will appear normal. Every other positive attribute you possess will still be intact. Use that positivity to help you through.
  • It’s only fair and reasonable to have a conversation with existing and/or new sexual partners about your condition. You and your partner should meet with your physician to discuss risks and possibilities. You will want this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to do moving forward.
  • If you are showing symptoms or in the midst of an outbreak, you should avoid any sexual activity.
  • Unless you’re in the midst of an outbreak, you can have sex. Remember that these STDs can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms, so please protect yourself and your partner.

A really reasonable way to think about having sex with an incurable STD is to think about kissing someone with a cold or the flu. You could still do it, but you’re likely to be at risk. When the symptoms aren’t there, your partner could still be a carrier of the disease and could still give you the disease. Your better course of action is to wait until all symptoms are gone and then still be careful.

std living facts

You have to simultaneously appreciate that your life will be approximately normal, even as you’ve had a significant change. Even as you get about living the rest of your life, you should be aware of risks that can cause an outbreak.

  • Of course intercourse is a very risky activity. Couples who have been exposed to one STD are likely to have been exposed to multiple. You don’t want to “ping-pong” diseases between you and your partner. Follow the recommended guidelines for having and avoiding sex based on your symptoms.
  • Surgery, trauma or any cause of a reduced immune system can produce an outbreak. If you’re diabetic, on steroids, have lupus or other conditions that affect the immune system, have a conversation with your physician.

STD living

At some point, you’ll get over the guilt and shame associated with having an untreatable STD and start focusing on the rest of your life. Be sure to live that life so it’s not causing more damage along the way; out of sight can’t be out of mind with an incurable STD. Be especially mindful of your risks of giving your partner your disease, both from specific acts of intercourse and from other sexual activities besides intercourse. Remember, these diseases all affect more than sex; managing these diseases is managing your health.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

 

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Sexual Activities Other Than Intercourse

sexual-risk-factors-2

Today, your sexual IQ goes up, and hopefully your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, goes down.
This is the fifth and last post in a series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.
  • For an explanation of the risk of contracting HIV from specific acts of sexual intercourse, click here.

Here are some terms you should understand.
Rimming: oral-anal contact
Fingering: digital sexual stimulation
Now let’s review.
Performing Oral Sex On A Man

  • You can get HIV by performing oral sex on your male partner. The risk is not as pronounced as it is with unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but oral sex clearly is a mode of transmitting HIV.
  • You are also at risk for getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using condoms during oral sex reduces the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if your male partner does not ejaculate in your mouth.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts in your mouth.

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man

  • The risk of contracting HIV is less with receiving oral sex than many other sexual activities, but it is still present.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from receiving oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts on your penis.
  • Oral sex also presents a risk of contracting other STIs, most notably herpes.

Performing Oral Sex On A Woman

  • Significant levels of HIV have been found in vaginal secretions, so there is a risk of contracting HIV from this activity, although the risk is not a great with other sexual activities.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs from performing oral sex on a woman.
  • There are effective barriers you can use to protect yourself from contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids. You can  use dental dams or non-microwaveable plastic wrap to protect against HIV and other STIs. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic wrap that can be microwaved will not protect you—viruses are small enough to pass through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman

  • The risk for contracting HIV while receiving oral sex is significantly lower than for unprotected vaginal sex, but it is still present.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs while receiving oral sex.
  • There are effective barriers you can use (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)

  • The risk of contracting HIV by rimming is very low but comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum or vagina.
  • The use medical-grade gloves and water-based lubricants can during fingering eliminates this risk.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask questions or provide comments. I cannot more highly endorse the websites at cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

stirisks

Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.
This is the fourth in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.

What I hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.
Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contracts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
sex-toys-300x285
ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA). Enjoy some of our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sex activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
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ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

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Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.
This is the fourth in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.

What I hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.
Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contracts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: The Sexually Transmitted Disease Summary and The Week In Review, Sept. 29th, 2013

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Based on your responses to the pictures posted this week, I should have renamed the blog, Scared Straight, No Chaser. The irony of it all is without exception, those pictures were very typical representations of the various sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some of you didn’t like it, but I do appreciate that large numbers of you read it all. I hope you learned a lot and even more importantly were moved into (in)action. In case you missed anything:

On Sunday, we began the week with a look at bacterial vaginosis (BV), which may be associated with sex but is not an STI. It’s important for women to take an active effort to learn their bodies and the effects various activities have. Remember, BV is easily treated, but it’s always fair to take the opportunity to ensure that STIs aren’t also present.

On Monday, we reviewed the most common bacterial STI, chlamydia. Chlamydia is a really typical disease in that it’s contagious, easily transmitted and has substantial complications if not treated.

On Tuesday, we reviewed gonorrhea, which very often occurs in tandem with Chlamydia. Like chlamydia, it’s contagious, easily transmitted and has substantial complications if not treated. Think of gonorrhea when copious discharge is present, and don’t forget this includes the eyes, throat and joints.

On Wednesday, we reviewed the various stages of syphilis. This easily treatable yet very dangerous disease has the nasty habits of mimicking many other disease and spontaneously disappearing – which is not the same as it being cured. Instead, it progresses to more harmful stages if not identified and treated. Remember the association of syphilis with rashes involving the palms and soles.

On Thursday, we reviewed the treatment of syphilis. It is so important to understand how easily this is treated, so get checked. We also reviewed the story of the Tuskegee Experiment of Untreated Syphilis and how that (unethically) led to the knowledge we have about syphilis and the mandatory protections now in place for humans participating in medical experiments.

On Friday, we reviewed herpes. Many were shocked to learn these groups of small blisters (vesicles) can be found wherever an infection occurs, including the fingers, eyes and mouth. Think of herpes when you get a painful genital ulcer, and get checked ASAP.

On Saturday, we discussed the cauliflower ear, a too common, very preventable and apparently sought after (by certain athletes) condition seen in those with trauma to the ear. The trauma results in the accumulation of blood and clots, which damages and deforms the ear into its prototypical appearance. This leads to a life of pain and deformity.

Here are three final considerations on sexually transmitted infections.

1. They all tend to coexist. Your exposure to one places you at risk for acquiring others, including HIV/AIDS. What you don’t know can hurt you; in fact it can kill you.

2. Remember that until your partner is treated, you’re not treated.

3. Most of these diseases lead to conditions that physiologically make acquiring HIV/AIDS more likely. I didn’t discuss HIV/AIDS this week because it’s involved enough that it is its own topic with several different considerations. We’ll address these another time.

If you’re not prudent enough to practice safe sex, please be diligent enough to get tested and treated based on any suspicion. Even better – do both. The life you save will be your own.

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