You Might Have an STD and Not Even Know It

 

I found this alarming.

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in America

“Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in America, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, surpassing the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000.”

“The United States continues to have the highest STD rates in the industrialized world,” said David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.

Make America Great Again, I guess?

The article suggests many factors in this rise, which are all logical and hard to measure.

  • Less frequent condom use.
  • The ignorance of both doctors and patients to get screenings and tests.
  • The ability of people to survive HIV diagnoses.
  • A decline in funding for state and local agencies working on prevention. (Damn that government intervention!)
  • And, of course, everyone’s favorite punching bag, dating apps, which make getting laid as easy as swiping right.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Jewish hypochondriac (not really, but I’m not one of those guys who refused to go to the doctor), however I was so afraid of accidentally impregnating someone that I’ve only had unprotected sex with 3 women in my entire life.

Hell, I had one girlfriend who shamed me for being SELFISH for insisting that I use condoms although she was on the pill.

So, on a strictly personal level, I don’t understand why so many are willing to take the risks of both disease and pregnancy – especially given the severity of the consequences.

I know “it feels better,” to go bareback but really? Syphilis? Gonorrhea?

Your thoughts, on unprotected sex and the consequences thereof, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    No Name To Give

    It’s a brave new world.

    1. 1.1
      Noone45

      Wheres something interesting: When you look at the data,  the biggest rise n STD infection has been among the over 55 population.

      1. 1.1.1
        Kath

        @ Noone45

        So very true; women past childbearing age think it’s safe to have unprotected sex, but STDs can spread like a common cold. As a woman, if a guy refuses to use a party hat, then he has no respect for my body & health. My younger self was a bit reckless at times, but not now. I only have sex in a monogamous boyfriend/girlfriend relationship after we both test STD-free.

  2. 2
    Yet Another Guy

    While I am vasectomy safe today, I was so paranoid about getting a woman pregnant before I married that I should have owned stock in the condom companies.  As far as to STDs, not even a condom protects against HPV and HSV transmission. It reduces the risk, but both STDs can be transferred via skin-to-skin contact.  That is why I decided to give up casual sex.

    1. 2.1
      AdaGrace

      @YAG: Vasectomies aren’t foolproof, as I’m sure you know — I recently went on a few dates with a guy who had to have a second vasectomy after his “surprise” third child was born. Apparently the repeat vasectomy was free, but the kid (now a teen) sure hasn’t been.

      I get/ask for Hep B/C tests as well as the other ones mentioned, and don’t engage in high-risk* sexual behavior outside of an exclusive relationship, with or without condoms: Women are at higher risk of catching STIs anyway (I assume what I’ve read means “per encounter”), and symptoms can do more damage/be more subtle, e.g. https://www.cdc.gov/std/health-disparities/stds-women-042011.pdf.  Having an organ transplant puts me at even higher risk for some things.

      (* “high risk” is subjective, of course — in my case there’s still plenty of fun stuff left to do, yay.)

       

      In the past 8 months I’ve rejected two men who felt condoms were enough for them but made a big deal about their willingness to get a full battery of tests anyway.   Except, despite the fact that each of these guys claimed to care about my well-being, apparently they didn’t care enough to either ease up at least a *little* on badgering me for intercourse or agree to be exclusive.

       

      To me this comes across in much the same way as: “My friend who lives in an iffy neighborhood really wants to go on vacation.  I care about her enough that I’m willing to drive all the way across town and check on her place once a day to make sure it’s safe!   However, she said the only way I can housesit for her is if I promise to lock her doors when I leave, and right now I’m so busy with so many other important things that I simply refuse to lock other people’s doors.  Hell, half the time I don’t lock my own doors, so why should SHE worry so much about theft?  I really LOVE housesitting and want to do it ASAP, so I call her several times a day to ask whether she really MEANT I have to lock her doors… after all, I know it’s been years since her last vacation and she seems really interested in going, plus I’ve seen her take lots of coffee breaks and even a few personal days, so maybe if I just keep asking!  Except, last night she told me not to call anymore and I heard from another friend that she’s also been interviewing other ‘potentially more responsible’ housesitters this whole time… what the hell is wrong with her?  Clearly she’s just using vacations as a way to manipulate other people into locking her doors.”

      🙂

      1. 2.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @AdaGrace

        Vasectomies are pretty much foolproof if done correctly and the patient has follow-up motility tests that test negative.  The failure rate is less than 0.1%, lower than that of tubal ligation, which is far more invasive.  A problem that occurs with some guys is that they have more than two vas deferens and the extras are missed during the procedure.  That is what happened to my cousin’s husband. He had three vas deferens.  However, most of the vasectomy failures can be attributed to guys not waiting until azoospermia has been achieved before having unprotected sex.  Sterilization is not immediate because it takes time for the sperm cells that are on the side of the tied or cauterized cut vas deferens that leads to the urethra to be ejaculated.   That is why follow-up motility tests should be taken in order to assure sterilization.  A guy is not sterile until a motility test says that he is sterile.  There is a quite a bit of variability in the achievement of azoospermia between men.  A study referenced by the publication linked below found that 17% of men had yet to achieve azoospermia by 24 weeks.  That is almost six months.

        1. AdaGrace

          @YAG I believe there was a 10 to 12 year gap between vasectomy and conception of the surprise child; no idea what kind of testing they did post-vasectomy.  Although I’m not 100% sure and no longer in contact with the guy to ask him… I do recall he told me the procedure had a 1 in 2000 failure rate… and that thanks to 23andme he’d recently found his birth father, who (he was amused to discover) had apparently fathered something like 26 or 28 children total and he wondered whether extremely motile sperm might have been a factor.

           

          I do realize this guy’s an edge case, but it’s probably useful for some folks (who aren’t you, heh) to read the anecdote as possible motivation for due diligence re: post-procedure followup.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @AdaGrace

          The less than 0.1% failure rate was pulled from urology medical literature. The vasectomy failure rate is actually lower than that of tubal ligation and the pill. While there are procedure-related failures, the greatest source of failure when it comes to vasectomy is failure to wait until azoospermia has been achieved before having unprotected sex. My urologist was clear about not having unprotected sex until a motility test demonstrated sterility. A lot guys fail to go back and have semen analysis performed. That is like playing Russian roulette. One can purchase a reasonably accurate OTC motility tests today. They even have an iPhone-based motility test.

  3. 3
    Emily, the original

    So, on a strictly personal level, I don’t understand why so many are willing to take the risks of both disease and pregnancy – especially given the severity of the consequences.

    Totally agree. Monogamous or casual, it doesn’t matter, until you get to really know each other, trust each other and both get tested. Takes more than a few months.

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