6/29/2012 8:32 AM
Yesterday, we posted our 10 question Safe Sex Quiz. How did you score?
- Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy.
True… but only with perfect use. In actual practice, which involves people making errors like not putting them on immediately, or failing to withdraw immediately after orgasm, effectiveness drops as low as 85%.
- If a man gets HPV, he’ll usually have symptoms that will let him know.
False. In many cases, if not most, HPV is asymptomatic in men.
- It’s fine to use Vaseline or oil-based lubricants with condoms.
False. Oil-based lubes break down condoms, which make them highly prone to breakage.
- If both partners are already HIV-positive, you don't need condoms.
Again, false. There are several distinct strains of HIV, and even those who are already infected with one can contract one that they did not already have.
- It’s possible to get an STI from sex toys.
If they’ve been used by someone who has an STI, true. Implement a one-person-per-toy policy, or stick to glass toys, which are easy to sanitize.
- Birth control pills are effective even when taken at different times of the day, so long as you take them every day.
False. For the highest level of protection, you should take The Pill at the same time every day.
- Half of all people will catch an STI at some point in their lives.
Scary, but true. The most common one that people will catch is HPV, which accounts for 80% of all STI transmissions.
- By age 30, half of all women will have had a chlamydia infection.
True. Chlamydia is easy to transmit, and often asymptomatic in men, so, it’s easy to pass around. This is why testing for all STDs, not just HIV, is important at the beginning of a new relationship.
- About 90% of all people who have herpes have no idea they have it.
True. It’s estimated that as much as 20% of the population carries the Herpes Simplex virus. Many people who have herpes never have an outbreak, which makes it nearly impossible for them to know that they carry the disease.
- Most people never ask the HIV status of a new lover.
True. This is an especially scary fact, since a large proportion of people who give their partners HIV have no idea that they have it. Make getting tested together one of your new relationship rituals. New, quick result tests means that you can have your answer in less than an hour. And, quick clinics like the ones in stores like Walgreens – which is offering free testing in 20 cities today – make it so no one has to know that you are there to get tested. You could be there for a cholesterol test for all any other patient need know.
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