- Sexual Partners Should Be Tested
Dangerous sexual activity includes having sex with multiple unfamiliar partners – especially if adequate protection is not used. This high-risk sexual behavior can put individuals in extreme danger of catching and transmitting STIs.
Safe sex alone is not enough to curb the spread of STIs – safe relationships are just as crucial. Individuals should engage in sexual activity only with partners who have been tested, and are well-known to them. Ensuring that this is the case can help protect both parties from accidental STI transmission or infection.
- Wash After Intercourse
Genital washing with simple soap and water solutions has been shown to be an effective method of mitigating the spread of STIs. This method was first used in World War II, and was approved as a way to mitigate the risks of soldiers developing chancroid when fighting in the war.
Gently washing genitals after intercourse can remove potentially harmful compounds, especially if a microbicidal soap is used. It’s important to note that this is absolutely no substitute for safe sex using condoms – but washing up after you do the deed can, indeed, aid in protecting you from STI infection.
- Don’t Share Towels Or Underclothing
Almost all STIs are transmitted through direct sexual activity – despite some urban myths and legends that may state otherwise. Most STIs do not survive for long outside of the moist, damp environment present on human genitalia. However, there are some exceptions.
Underwear and towels come in contact with human genital areas often, and since they’re often somewhat moist – at least compared to other articles of clothing – STI microbes can survive on them for an extended period of time.
There are confirmed cases of STIs like trichomoniasis being transmitted in this manner, and while this is a rare occurrence, it is possible nonetheless.
Prevent The Spread of STIs – And Encourage Greater Sexual Health
It can be difficult to talk about STIs – even for nurses. Given the very intimate nature of sex, it almost feels like an invasion of privacy, even when discussing STIs with patients – and especially kids.
One great way that you can start the discussion about STIs is through humor. Jimmy Kimmel recently had a great bit about STIs on his show – we highly recommend taking a look if you’re in the mood to laugh.
And though Mr. Kimmel had plenty of fun making jokes about the prevalence of STIs in states like Alaska – “The reason they have the most STDs in Alaska is, well, have you ever tried to open a condom wearing mittens?”– he was still spreading valuable information about the spread of STIs, citing a well-documented study performed using CDC data.
So whether you’d rather share what you’ve learned through humor, or are prepared for an open and honest discussion about STIs, it’s crucial to spread the word about the prevalence of STIs – not just among children and the youth, but among people of all ages. Our public health depends on it.
Use the knowledge you’ve gained here for good. This April during STI Awareness Month, do your part to help encourage sexual health all throughout our country. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away – it makes it worse.
So be open to discussions with patients, your kids, and others when it comes to sexual health – and share what you’ve learned as we build toward an STI-free future.