Posts Tagged ‘condoms’

Herpes – What is it?

Part 1 of a 3 part series.

How do you talk to your sexual partners about STDs? How about STIs? And…. what is the difference between a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? The American Social Health Association describes the distinction: the term disease “implies a clear medical problem, usually [with] some obvious signs or symptoms. But in truth several of the most common STDs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of persons infected. Or they have mild signs and symptoms that can be easily overlooked” and, so they should now be described as an infection.

One STI that is cloaked in mystery is herpes, but it doesn’t need to be. If you don’t have herpes, learning about it helps you avoid contracting it. If you do have herpes, understanding it helps you avoid transmitting it and helps you talk to your sexual partners about risk reduction. And sometimes, people can have herpes and not know it, so in the interest of safety, let’s talk herpes.

Herpes is a virus. It’s a virus that has two types. Herpes Simplex 1 (HSV-1)  and Herpes Simplex 2 (HSV-2). Both can cause blisters, sores, bumps or a rash to form. The difference between Herpes Simplex 1 and Herpes Simplex 2 is where the sores are generally located on the body. In the case of HSV-1, the sores are found on and around the mouth, and are called cold sores or fever blisters. HSV-2 generally causes sores on and around the genitals (penis, vagina and vulva), the anus, thigh, or buttocks. The genital infection is what people generally think of when they hear the word “herpes.” But both types of virus are technically “herpes.” There are also cases of HSV-2 infecting the mouth and  HSV-1 causing genital breakouts, but there is no way of knowing, without testing, which type is causing the breakout. However, generally, the two types prefer to infect their customary areas.

So, what is a virus? A virus, when contracted, invades a body’s cells and takes over those cells in order to replicate. Our bodies fight viruses with antibodies and can often suppress them so that the infected cells don’t replicate, but viruses don’t die off, and viruses can resurface. Also, viruses are often contagious without any symptoms and some spread very easily. Some viruses, like colds and plantar warts, don’t cause much alarm, as our bodies can generally suppress them in a reasonable amount of time. Other viruses, like HIV, can cause major health complications and may eventually cause death. Although people don’t die from herpes, and although herpes can be a manageable infection, it is important to understand how herpes is transmitted, herpes symptoms, and how doctors test for herpes in order to reduce the chance of transmission.

Herpes is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Over 60 million adults in the United States have herpes and a million new cases are diagnosed every year. An estimated 70 percent of people who have herpes don’t know when they contracted it and don’t know that they had an initial outbreak—or didn’t even have an initial outbreak.

like 70% of americans, michael scott gets cold sores (which are caused by the herpes virus)

Herpes is spread by skin to skin contact and can be spread even without signs of an outbreak. Generally, herpes is a manageable, non lethal virus, but it does come with increased risk of other sexually transmitted infections. A person with genital herpes has a much higher risk of acquiring HIV. And a person who has both HIV and herpes is more likely to transmit both infections.

Since herpes is so common, and generally misunderstood, we are going to dedicate three blog posts to it. This first one has given a general overview of what herpes is. It’s a virus that causes nonlethal outbreaks. It’s the most common STD and it’s spread by skin to skin contact. In the next couple of posts, we are going to go into more detail about the symptoms and transmission of herpes and the testing for and treatment of herpes.

In the meantime, if you have questions give us a call 800.777.2437 or chat with us online at oregonaidshotline.com

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Put a Ring On It!

The Reality Behind the Female Condom:

The Female Condom (also called the Reality Condom, Bottom Condom, or Insertive Condom) is a condom that can be inserted into the vagina or the anus.  It’s made out of a non-latex rubber (either polyurethane or nitrile) and is safe to use if you have a latex allergy.

 

 

How to use the Insertive Condom:

1.) Check the expiration date.  Open the condom by tearing it at the top right corner.

2a.) For vaginal sex:  make sure the inner ring is at the bottom of the pouch, squeeze the flexible inner ring between your thumb and finger so that the ring becomes long and narrow, and use your finger to insert it into your vagina.  It may be easier to insert it if you squat or put one leg up.  Push it up as far as it will go while keeping the outer ring on the outside of the vagina.  The inner ring will fit behind the pubic bone and over the cervix.  The outer ring should lie over the lips of the vagina.

 

 

2b.) For anal sex: make sure the inner ring is at the bottom of the pouch, squeeze the flexible inner ring between your thumb and finger so that the ring becomes long and narrow.  Gently insert the inner ring into your anus.  Use your index finger inside the condom to push the ring past the sphincter muscle.   You can also remove the internal ring (some people find that more comfortable) and either use your partner’s erect penis, your fingers, or a sex toy (such as a dildo) to insert it.  After it’s inserted make sure the outer ring is outside of and covering the anal opening.

 

 

 

 

 

3.) After the condom is in place, make sure it’s not twisted by feeling the inside of the condom.  Add more lube to the penis and the  inside of the condom and then guide your partner’s penis into the condom.   Make sure that your partner’s penis is inside the condom and not on the outside of it.

4.) To remove the condom twist the outer ring and gently pull out.  Wrap the condom in the package or a tissue and throw it away (don’t flush it).

Condom Comparison Fun Facts:
Male Condom Insertive/Female/Reality Condom
Rolled on the penis Inserted into the vagina or anus
Most kinds made out of latex (lamb skin does not protect against HIV) Made from synthetic rubber
Penis needs to be erect Can be put in up to 8 hours before sex (not dependent on erection)
Covers most of the penis and protects internal genitalia Covers both internal and part of the external genitalia, and the base of the penis (offering broader protection).
Important: the Female and Male condom should not be used at the same time.

Have more questions about condoms?  Call the Oregon HIV/STD Hotline at 800.777.2437 or chat with us online at www.oregonaidshotline.com


Don’t Be Silly Wrap Up That Willie!

Condoms are GRRREAT! When used correctly they help protect you from a whole host of bacterial and viral infections (they’ll also keep you from getting preggers if that’s one of your concerns).

But I’m not going to talk about statistics or the basics of how to use a condom (here’s some videos on the basics if you wanna brush up). For right now, I’m going to talk more about how condoms can increase your pleasure during sex – yeah, that’s right, I said INCREASE your pleasure.

First, there are tons of different types of condoms. Big ones, snugger ones, ones with spirals, bumps, ridges, pleasure pockets, and bends. Ones that make you tingle, ones that are thinner and some that are thicker. Plus, all sorts of flavors (fyi, flavored condoms should only be used for oral sex because they can cause problems for the va-jay-jay and the bum). All those condom “extras” aren’t just there for show; they can increase different sensations and make sex feel better (and last longer!). But, hey, don’t take my word for it; conduct your own research experiment to figure out what you like. And for extra fun you can learn how to put on a condom with your mouth. It helps incorporate condoms into sex play and is also a pretty neat party trick. It’s a good idea to practice this beforehand so that you don’t damage the condom with your teeth. I’m sure your partner will have no problem letting you practice, but if so, then revert to the old banana standby. Different folks like different strokes so this might not be for you. Half the fun is finding out what you like!

Now, let’s talk lube! Lube ain’t just for anal sex. Lube and condoms are like peas and carrots; they complement each other very nicely no matter where you’re sticking your dingy.

Is lube a new venture for you?  No worries, I’ll walk you through it. Put a drop of water based or silicone based lube on the erect penis before putting on the latex or polyurethane condom (trust me on this) and then as much as you like on the outside of the condom or directly on the vagina or rumpus. Reapply lube as needed while you’re doing the deed (dry sex causes too much friction which can cause the condom to break). People always ask me what the best lube is, and while I hear lots of great things about silicone based (my favorite being, “you can slip n’ slide on gravel with that stuff!”) the fact is that it’s really a personal choice. So depending on what you’re into it may vary.  Here’s a list of different lube pros and cons to help get you started.

That’s all for now, but check back soon for our next installment of Hotflash!

In the meantime, if you have questions or wanna talk about more fun ways to reduce your risk then give the Oregon AIDS/STD Hotline a call at 800.777.2437 or chat with us live online at www.oregonaidshotline.com. Our Hotline Volunteers are super nice, nonjudgmental, and ready to answer all your burning questions! We’re here Monday-Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 12pm-6pm (pacific).

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