Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Scary in the news.

There is a lot of sex in advertising. Thin, scantily-dressed people who are pressed up against each other and making slack-jawed faces with their hands in suggestive places... We’ve probably all seen something like it.
What I find interesting is that we can see these kinds of images everywhere, and yet for some reason there is very little advertising done for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
You might see some informational posters in public toilets or at the doctor’s office, but rarely will you see posters up on the street, reminding people that you just don’t know where your new partner’s been. That you often can’t tell just by looking at someone (even the relevant “parts”) whether they have an infection that they can pass on to you. That you need to use protection for other kinds of sex, not just penis/vagina. That, while not all diseases are deadly, there are many which are incurable.
STIs appear to be on the increase in the developed world and HIV is still one of the most frightening (it mutates quickly and becomes resistant to treatments easily), and it is on the rise in Victoria again.
The best possible way of dealing with it is education. No, it will not be 100% effective at preventing new infections, but being aware of what it is, how it is passed on, and how it can be prevented is essential.
Knowing that this is not the only disease one can catch; there are many, and all can have far-reaching consequences if left untreated, and they can be asymptomatic.
It bothers me that the main concern of a lot of people who are having sex is prevention of pregnancy. Pregnancy will be “cured” in about 9months anyway if left “untreated”. HIV, Hepatitis C, herpes, HPV... All these are not curable (though four strains of one can at least now be vaccinated against). They’re not going to grow up and leave home in about 20years, either. You’re not going to get company or conversation out of them, nor can you rejoice in how your latest sore is progressing in its gymnastics class. 
So, screw “trust”. If you’ve got a new partner, use condoms and dental dams until you’ve had them (and yourself; fair is fair) tested for any major diseases and until you know their sexual history well enough to trust them not to have unprotected sex with someone else while they’re also having unprotected sex with you. 
It’s fairly simple, really.


  1. Technically, a pregnancy left "untreated" has a ~1% chance of being fatal...

  2. Yes, but it's the only fatal outcome (as far as I'm aware) that hormonal methods protect you from :-p Condoms protect you from many more conditions, even if they're not quite 100% effective.