Condom. Rubber. Johnny. Franger. Dinger. Let's be real here, whatever you call them, most of us aren’t the biggest fan.
But with a success rate of 98% to stop sexually transmitted infections (STI's) it's hard to argue a case against the value of condoms, especially when it comes to new or multiple partners. In fact, no other contraceptive method prevents STIs, but the inconvenience and dulled sensation is enough to drive some people to play Russian Roulette with their health.
STIs can be transmitted through having unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex, and close skin-to-skin contact. Did you know that many people who are infected show no symptoms? Left unchecked, STIs can go on to cause serious STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and lead to infertility and other medical complications.
Signs and symptoms of STI's:
- An itch inside or outside of the genitals
- A sore lump, wart or blister on or around the genitals
- Unusual discharge
- Pain in the lower abdomen and genitals
- Pain during sex, and/or bleeding after sex
- Frequent urge to pass urine, and/or burning while passing urine
- Pain in the rectum
- Discharge from the rectum
Data from WA Department of Health shows STI's are on the rise. So much so, that in 2016 gonorrhoea had reached a 10 year high with 3387 reported cases, and that figure held steady the following year. Chlamydia took out the top spot, with 11,557 cases reported in 2017.
In the heat of the moment we might be quick to forget, but we can't ignore the fact that these infections are out there.
The only sure way of knowing that you and your partner are in the clear is by getting tested, and it’s as simple as a urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and a blood test for HIV, syphilis, genital warts and hepatitis.
If you think you may have been exposed to an STI, your best bet is to go and get tested at a clinic or your GP, and use condoms and/or dental dams until you receive the results.
But as they say, prevention is the best cure, and condoms, however you may feel about them, are still our best protection against STI’s!