“You seem pretty scared of catching swine flu for someone who’s not remotely scared of catching STDs.”
Oh, the genius of this someecard – especially for someone like me who teaches on a college campus. As you likely know, the rate of STIs among 15-24 year olds is particularly high in the United States (and far higher than in European countries that offer more comprehensive sexuality education). Some students forgo condoms as soon as they both test negative for STIs which is not necessarily a good idea given that men cannot be tested for HPV and many women don’t get tested for everything they should be getting tested for – and most don’t even know it. Then there’s pregnancy. Having worked in family planning clinics and performed my fair share of pregnancy tests, it’s tough to see how many people thought that they were avoiding pregnancy but were not successful in doing so because they didn’t use their birth control correctly.
Want to reduce your risk of infection? Limit your number of partners and, if having sex, use a condom the entire time that you have sex so as to reduce your risk of some but not all STIs.
Want to reduce your risk of pregnancy? Again, condoms are a highly effective tool. If you’re going without condoms and you or your is on birth control, consider withdrawal as an extra measure of protection. So many women don’t take their birth control pill correctly or they mis-use NuvaRing – and they don’t even know it.
Oh and to help reduce the spread of Swine Flu (not an STI)? Wash your hands frequently. Stay home from school or work if you feel ill (and call your healthcare provider). Steer clear of possibly infected friends or co-workers.
To learn more about H1N1 (Swine Flu) visit the CDC’s web site where you can also learn about STIs. And to help improve the quality of adolescent sexual health information and education world wide, visit Advocates for Youth.