Quickies for Guys and STDs/STIs

1. STIs – or sexually transmitted infections – are the most commonly reported diseases in Colorado and are among the most common diseases in the world. In 2013, about 25,000 people in Colorado report having chlamydia, gonorrhea or early syphilis.

2. Confused about the terms STD or STI? Using either is accurate; however more and more STI is being used as the most up-to-date term because people can have an infection (and maybe no symptoms) without it actually turning into a disease.

3. Guys can get or give an STI or STD having sex with women or men – and that includes oral sex, too. Helping prevent the transmission of STIs is often in the guy’s court: using male condoms. If you want to explore some other options, dental dams – a latex rectangle that is placed between the mouth and the vagina, vulva or anus – are an option. Or chart some new territory and talk with your partner about exploring female condoms.

4. It’s not easy to know if you’ve been infected – many STDs/STIs have subtle (or no) symptoms that may not be obvious. With some you may have open sores or pain urinating, but others show no obvious signs. Beforeplay.org’s Uncovering STDs is a great source for learning more about specific symptoms, treatment and more. But if you think you’ve been exposed, your best bet for finding out for sure is to get an STD test. If positive get treatment if it is available and do your part to prevent others from getting it.

5. There are tests available for all STIs/STDs, except for HPV in men, and are pretty easy and straightforward. HPV can lead to various kinds of cancer and is the most common STD – about half of people will have it at some point in their lives. Good news on that front is that there is a safe and effective HPV vaccine for guys (and gals). All STDs are treatable – making the symptom less uncomfortable, for example – though not all can be cured. There are many knowledgeable health care providers that can help and you can find one near you here.

For yourself – and your partners – do your best to prevent the spread of STIs. Get tested before having unprotected sex, use condoms and dental dams – and an HPV vaccination (which is covered at no additional charge under most new health insurance plans) and Just Talk About It.

Have more questions? Text b4play to 57890 to ask your sexual health questions and get an informed, confidential answer.