All The Buzz About Zika Virus – The Newest STI

By Sophie Dila

The Summer Olympic games have kicked off in Brazil, and with all the buzz about the Zika virus outbreak there and in Florida, we thought we’d break it down and give you the latest on what we know.With all the buzz about the Zika virus – including that it is getting closer to home for us in the United States — we thought we’d break it down and give you the latest on what we know.

Most of the talk about Zika is about getting infected by being bit by the kind of mosquitos that carry the virus. We want you to know that Zika virus is the newest STI, meaning it can be transmitted through oral, anal and vaginal sex, and even by sharing sex toys.  It’s one more reason that correct and consistent condom use is highly recommended by those wanting you to protect your health.

Zika is a big deal because if a woman becomes infected during pregnancy, it can cause microcephaly in the fetus, a birth defect of the brain that makes the baby’s head much smaller than expected. Zika can also cause other severe fetal defects, including eye defects, hearing deficits and impaired growth. Zika virus also causes Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death. In other words, nada bom (aka no good).

Unfortunately, most people won’t even know when/if they have Zika, because the symptoms are usually pretty mild. Fever, rash, headache, muscle pain, joint pain… Sound familiar? Yup, the same symptoms as the common cold.

So what can you do to stay safe and protected from Zika? For starters, if you are pregnant, then put that travel insurance to work and cancel your trip to tropical areas. The CDC has a list of spots you should skip for travel right now. For all the ladies out there who are not pregnant, if you are traveling in these regions and you might get a little frisky while you’re at the games in Rio, then be sure you are up to date on your birth control and pack plenty of condoms for back up. This may be a great time to consider a “whoops proof” method that protects you once you get it – think about an implant or IUD.

Also – don’t forget that some of the other basics may be good for you: mosquito repellant or even netting in some areas. Those little buggers can pass more than Zika – West Nile virus can mess with you too.

While you’re having all your summer fun, traveling, in the great outdoors or getting frisky, do what you can to protect yourself.