Time to Take Control of Your Sexual Health – Cover Up With the Female Condom
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are setting alarming new records. According to the data released in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s annual “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report”, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2016 was the highest number recorded in the country’s public health history with more than 2 million cases. Chlamydia led the charge with approximately 1.6 million diagnoses in 2016. For women, untreated STIs can have shattering long-term results. It can lead to infertility, stillbirth, and leave women more vulnerable to HIV infection. Other cast of characters include HPV, Herpes, HIV, Trichomonas’s, Hepatitis and the Zika virus. HPV is also an epidemic affecting over 79 million women and men. It’s important to know that women of all ages, from teens to women in their 90’s who are sexually active, are at risk for STIs. Women need to be equipped with dual protection methods, like male and female condoms, and encourage the consistent use of these lifesaving barriers.
It’s best to get tested for STIs once a year, after unprotected sex and in between new partners. Many STIs including HPV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, do not have any symptoms so getting tested regularly is important to avoid future gynecologic problems. You may have to ask your health care provider directly to have STI screening as it may not be included in your yearly exam.
It may be shocking to know that single women 50 to 59yr is the new high-risk group prone to STIs. This new group of sexually active women are newly separated, divorced or widowed and are just getting out into the dating world again. The notion of having your partner use condoms or having them screened for STI’s is not part of the conversation prior to having sex. This group of women is now joining the safe sex conversation with their new partners.