April: National STD Awareness Month
The weather is warming up, the birds are singing and the bees are buzzing. It’s time to get outside, go to the beach and work on that tan so I hope those beach bodies are ready. This time of year is also a time that brings out something else in many of us, springtime can also turn us “on” by raising our sex drive and we may start to become more sexually active. Decades worth of research featured in Pacific Standard “Sex in the Springtime,” back up the claim that spring ignites a certain passion or primal instinct within many of us.
It has been shown that the seasons can affect our mood so why does it seem so crazy that it could also affect our sex drive? Spring for many of us is a time to let our thoughts roam more freely towards love, romance, and most importantly sex. Because let’s face it, who does not like thinking about sex almost as much as actually having it?
With that being said… this is the perfect time to also go get tested not only for HIV but other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and since April is STD Awareness Month what better reason to do it now (as if you needed more than one reason). It is recommended to get tested for HIV alone at least once every three months for men who have sex with men (msm) and have a negative status or unknown status, especially for those that are sexually active with multiple partners. This is because it can take 3 to 12 weeks for a person’s body to make enough antibodies for an antibody test to detect HIV infection so frequent testing is key to staying on top of your status.
Let’s be real, there is nothing more unattractive and frighting then having to call someone down the road and tell them they need to get tested, so if you are going to get yourself a HIV test, why not have your doctor do a full work up? That way when you find that hot guy at the gym or on Grindr, you know you are walking into this with a clean bill of health and the biggest concern is probably whether you are going back to his place or yours.
While yes it is extremely important to know not only your HIV status but also know about any other STIs, it is also just as important to take measures to protect yourself. We all know not having sex is the safest method but where is the fun in that and in today’s age, who actually practices abstinence? Other safety measure may include condoms and/or PrEP and only have sexual relations with one partner.
Here is a list provided by Sutter Heath on different ways you can help protect yourself from HIV and other STIs.
- Use a latex condom (or “rubber”) every time for vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Condoms will help protect you from STIs much of the time. Both men and women should carry condoms.
- Talk to your partner about past sex partners and about needle drug use. Don’t have sex with someone who you think may have an STI.
- Before you have sex, look closely at your partner for any sign of an STI – a rash, a sore, redness, or discharge. If you see anything you are worried about, don’t have sex!
- Get checked for an STI every time you have a health exam. If you have more than one sex partner, get examined for an STI any time you think you might be at risk, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Know the signs and symptoms of an STI. If you notice a symptom that worries you, get checked out!
- If you have an STI, your partner(s) must get treated when you do.
- If you have an STI, don’t have sex until your doctor says you’re cured.
If you are interested in getting tested and not sure where to go, use the link below to find a testing site in your area.
You may also order a testing service from www.stdcheck.com*