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What is a Latex Allergy?

What is a Latex Allergy?

 

What is Latex?

 

Latex is a naturally occurring substance that is found beneath the bark of the rubber tree.  This milky white substance is harvested by tapping the trees.  The bark is scored and peeled back to create a channel that allows the sap to run into buckets attached to the trees.  This is collected and then processed into latex that is used in many common day-to-day items.  Latex possesses a great many attributes that allow it to be used for items from gloves to swim caps to balloons to condoms.  But it also can be life threatening to people who have a latex allergy.

 

What are you allergic to in latex?

 

A latex allergy is actually an allergic reaction to the proteins present in the milky sap of the rubber tree.   Simply put, your body views the latex as something harmful to it.  This causes a release of histamines to fight the “intruder”. Histamines and other chemical responses are what trigger the allergic reactions and symptoms.  It is the latex protein that creates this allergic reaction, one that can worsen over repeated exposure.  This protein is very similar to proteins in some nuts, fruits and vegetables.  It is not uncommon for people who have a latex allergy to also have allergies or sensitivities to the following foods:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Chestnut
  • Kiwi
  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Papaya
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons

What is Polyisoprene?

 

Interestingly enough, polyisoprene is created either with the removal of the allergy producing protein from natural rubber or as a synthetic product in a laboratory setting.  But polyisoprene retains the many attributes that natural latex has with its softness, tear and tensile strength, and comfort.  Polyisoprene condoms and dams are an alternative to anyone who has latex sensitivities or allergies.  They provide a necessary alternative for the growing number of individuals who suffer from latex allergies.

 

Pros and Cons of Polyisoprene

 

There are far more pros than cons when it comes to polyisoprene condoms and dams!  The pros are obvious!  You can enjoy safer sex with less concerns of allergic reactions to the condoms or dams being used.   Polyisoprene condoms and dams are a safer replacement for latex condoms or dams.   The cons are very few and far between!   The only real one is that they are a bit more costly than their latex alternatives.

Pros

  • Stretchy and comfortable
  • Suitable for people with latex allergies
  • Cheaper than polyurethane condoms
  • Appropriate for same uses as latex condoms and dams

 

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than latex condoms or dams

 

Protect Your Health!

 

Protection is available for everyone, even those with a latex allergy.  The options are growing for access to condoms and dams for those with a latex allergy or sensitivity.  Harmony Polyisoprene Dams are available online at Safely Sexual in both retail and bulk options.  Your health, all aspects of it, is worth protecting. 

 

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STIs on the Rise During Covid

 

STIs: Epidemic Numbers

 

STIs were at epidemic proportions before the Covid-19 Pandemic struck the world, but the restrictions Covid created have not helped to reduce the numbers. The exact opposite is true, with numbers on the rise throughout the last couple of years.  Although this may seem counter intuitive, there are several factors that have impacted this growth.  The CDC released their report in April 2022 that helps explain the dramatic rise in the numbers that are now surpassing 2019’s infection rates.

 

How Covid impacted the STI epidemic?

 

Covid-19 created many roadblocks with regards to accessibility to testing and treatment for STIs.  Many clinics were closed due to restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid.  This meant people were not getting tested for STIs and many asymptomatic cases were left untreated. As well, many symptomatic cases were not able to access care for treatment or identify what the symptoms were from.  Outreach efforts were restricted and sexual wellness products such as condoms and oral barriers were not able to be distributed.  Staff from many public health and STI testing organizations were re-allocated to Covid-19 duties, resulting in an absence of accessible treatment centres. These factors were also further compounded by a lack of testing supplies and laboratory access due to the volume of Covid-19 testing and supplies required. 

 

What did not change: people having sexual encounters.

 

What STIs are on the rise?

 

The CDC explains this with the following data that was collected at the end of 2020:

 

  • Reported cases of gonorrhea and primary & secondary (P&S) syphilis were up 10% and 7%, respectively, compared to 2019.
  • Syphilis among newborns (i.e., congenital syphilis) also increased, with reported cases up nearly 15% from 2019, and 235% from 2016. Early data indicate primary and secondary syphilis and congenital syphilis cases continued to increase in 2021 as well.
  • Reported cases of chlamydia declined 13% from 2019.

The decline in chlamydia is likely the result of lack of testing and not being properly diagnosed versus a reduction in the actual infection rate. 

 

So, What’s Next?

 

The next step in the fight against STIs has to be education and awareness.  The public needs to understand the seriousness of STIs and the possible long-term effects they can have on one’s health.  This path needs to be coupled with testing, outreach, availability of treatments for all demographics, and, most importantly, proper funding to ensure the programs are effective for all.  The outreach needs to support the following so we can help reduce the incidence rate of STIs:

  • The shame and stigma surrounding STIs needs to be removed.
  • STIs and one’s sexual health needs to have the same attention as one’s physical and mental health.
  • Social and economic factors, such as poverty, access to insurance, and antiquated systems need to be addressed.
  • Education needs to be a priority to help support prevention.
  • The world needs to understand the impact STIs have on everyone.

 

More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide, the majority of which are asymptomatic.

 

The message of prevention, STI testing, outreach of sexual wellness products and educating everyone about one’s sexual wellness throughout the different stages of life needs to be shared now to help prevent these numbers from increasing even more.

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Lubricants for Sexual Wellness

The wide array of options for different lubricants for sexual activities can leave one confused or, worse yet, choosing the wrong lube for the usage needed.  Lubricants are for more than just vaginal dryness.  Lubricants can help increase pleasure, delay ejaculation, and reduce friction, thereby aiding in safer sex practices.   Lubes come in a variety of types and navigating which one is right for you is easier with a bit of information.

 

Why Use Lube?

Lube is often used to combat vaginal dryness, to aid in increasing sexual pleasure, for anal sex, and also for use with sex toys.  Why you are using lube is important so that you can choose the correct product for the act.  The vagina creates its own lubricant as an integral part of its function.  But the amount created can vary by person, health, medications, age, and a number of other factors.  The anus does not create any fluids as it is not a part of its function.  The thinner tissues around the anus and in the rectum can lead to microscopic tears.  Using lubricants for anal sex can help reduce this from happening while making the experience more pleasurable.  

 

Types of Lubes

 

Lubricants come in a few different types. The main types of lubricant are water based, silicone based, oil based, a hybrid of the water and silicone, and some natural types.  Lubricants also come in different flavors. It is best to use flavored lubricants for external sex acts as they often have sugar or additives that can affect the PH level of the vagina, causing yeast infections, no different than flavored condoms. Lubes are available in liquids, creams and gels.  

Water Based Lube

 

Water Based Lube: 

  • Is made with water as its main ingredient. 
  • The thickness can vary but it is usually on the thinner side.
  • The water base makes it easy to clean after but you may need to use more as it can dry out quicker than other types.  
  • Water based lubricants can be used with latex condoms, non-latex condoms, nitrile Female Condoms, Silicone Sex Toys, and both Latex and Polyisoprene Dams.

Silicone Based Lube

Silicone Based Lube: 

  • Is made with silicone as its main ingredient. 
  • This is a thicker type of lube that is great for anal sex as it is thicker, more slippery and longer lasting than water based.  
  • Silicone lube can be more difficult to clean and can stain clothing and sheets. 
  • Silicone lubricants can be used with latex condoms, non-latex condoms, nitrile Female Condoms, and both Latex and Polyisoprene Dams.  
  • DO NOT use silicone lube with silicone sex toys as it will degrade and damage the toys.  

Oil Based Lube

Oil Based Lube:  

  • These lubricants are made with either natural or synthetic oils as their base.  
  • They cannot be used with Latex of any variety as they will break it down.  
  • They can be used with non-latex and nitrile condoms.
  • Avoid baby oil or petroleum jelly with latex as well

Explore Your Options

It is always best to test out a bit of lube before using for the first time. You can do this on your inner forearm for a sensitivity test, or even place a bit in or around your vagina or on the tip of your penis.   Lubricants are available at pharmacies, adult shops, online, Public Health facilities, many school union offices or wellness centres, and even some grocery stores to list just a few.  They range in availability from single use foils to larger bottles.  Try different brands and types to see what works best for you!  As they say, “Wetter is Better!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Condom Myths

There are many types of condoms available to meet everyone’s needs.   And, unfortunately, there are also as many myths and misconceptions associated with condoms as well!  Sadly, with the stigma that still surrounds sexual health, many false beliefs are circulated as “fact” when they are truly fiction. False information on the internet, talking with others who may not have the facts, fear of asking a question, and shame still surrounding sexual activities, all lead to misinformation. And even worse, this misinformation can lead to unwanted pregnancies or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)


Condom Myth #1


“Using two condoms is better than one.”


Double is NOT always a better deal. This is a big NO.  One condom is all that is necessary for safer sex.  If you double up condoms you are actually at more of a risk for breakage due to the condoms rubbing together. You only need to use one condom at a time for them to do what they are supposed to.


Condom Myth #2


“I don’t need to wear a condom if I practice the withdrawal method.”


The withdrawal method, or pulling out, is when the penis is pulled out before ejaculation.  Many men have sperm in their pre-ejaculate, the fluid that is released before ejaculation.  Condoms should be worn when genital contact is occurring.  Wearing a condom will help in reducing the possibility of transmission of STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

 

Condom Myth #3

 

“Condoms are a turn off.”


Condoms are available in all different styles, sizes, colors, and flavors.  They are ribbed, tattooed, and even glow in the dark.  They come in snugger fit to extra large.  They can easily be incorporated into foreplay so that they are not viewed as something that interrupts sexual pleasure, but rather something that enhances it.   


Condom Myth #4


“Condoms are hard to put on.”


Nope.  They are quite simple to put on actually.  And it is easy to practice beforehand as well.  

 

  • Tear open the package carefully and do not use fingernails, teeth, or anything that can damage the condom.

 

  • Remove the condom from the package and apply a small amount of lubricant to the inside tip. 

 

  • Before any sexual contact, place the condom on the head of the erect penis with the rolled side out. Pinch the receptacle tip of the condom between your thumb and forefinger. This prevents air from becoming trapped at the tip of the condom and leaves an empty space to collect semen. 

 

  • Unroll the condom down the base of the penis with your other hand. If the condom doesn’t unroll easily, it may be on backwards, damaged or too old. Throw it away and start over with a new condom. You can apply lubricant at this time as well.

 

  • Immediately after ejaculation, hold on to the base of the condom tightly and pull out while the penis is still erect. This will keep the condom from slipping off and keep any fluids from being spilled. 

 

  • Dispose properly by wrapping the used condom in tissue and throwing it in the trash so others won’t handle it. DO NOT FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET

Condom Myth #5


“You can re-use a condom.”


No, you cannot re-use a condom.  Use a new condom for every new act of intercourse. Never reuse condoms as this can result in condom breakage, risk of pregnancy and STIs.  Do not use the same condom if switching from vaginal sex to anal sex.  


Condom Myth #6


“Any type of lube is fine with condoms.”


Never use petroleum-based lubricants with latex condoms as they will damage the integrity of the latex and can break the condoms.  Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants when using condoms.  Either are fine and truly are simply a matter of preference. 

 

So go and explore your condom preferences. Contact reliable sources to ensure you are getting the correct information.  Your sexual health is relying on it!

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What you need to know about Gonorrhea

What is Gonorrhea?

 

Gonorrhea is an infection caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium that can infect anyone who is sexually active. Gonorrhea most often affects the urethra, rectum or throat. In females, gonorrhea can also infect the cervix. Gonorrhea is most commonly spread during unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex.  You can help reduce your risk of transmission by practicing safer sex whenever you engage in any sexual activity.

 

What are the Symptoms?

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, men who do have symptoms, may have:

  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis;
  • Painful or swolled testicles (although this is less common).

Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if they don’t have any symptoms.
Symptoms in women can include:

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating;
  • Increased vaginal discharge;
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods.


Rectal infections may either cause no symptoms or cause symptoms in both men and women that may include:

 

 

  • Discharge;
  • Anal itching;
  • Soreness;
  • Bleeding;
  • Painful bowel movements.

You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD, such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.


If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is extremely important to reach out to your doctor, if untreated, gonorrhea can cause significant issues in regard to your health. Here is list of complications from mayoclinic.org that an individual can experience:

  • Infertility in women. Gonorrhea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can result in scarring of the tubes, greater risk of pregnancy complications and infertility. PID requires immediate treatment.
  • Infertility in men. Gonorrhea can cause a small, coiled tube in the rear portion of the testicles where the sperm ducts are located (epididymis) to become inflamed (epididymitis). Untreated epididymitis can lead to infertility.
  • Infection that spreads to the joints and other areas of your body. The bacterium that causes gonorrhea can spread through the bloodstream and infect other parts of your body, including your joints. Fever, rash, skin sores, joint pain, swelling and stiffness are possible results.
  • Increased risk of HIV/AIDS. Having gonorrhea makes you more susceptible to infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that leads to AIDS. People who have both gonorrhea and HIV are able to pass both diseases more readily to their partners.
  • Complications in babies. Babies who contract gonorrhea from their mothers during birth can develop blindness, sores on the scalp and infections.

Prevention

To help reduce your risk of gonorrhea:

  • Use a condom if you have sex. Abstaining from sex is the surest way to prevent gonorrhea. But if you choose to have sex, use a condom during any type of sexual contact, including anal sex, oral sex or vaginal sex.
  • Limit your number of sex partners. Being in a monogamous relationship in which neither partner has sex with anyone else can lower your risk.
  • Be sure you and your partner are tested for sexually transmitted infections. Before you have sex, get tested and share your results with each other.
  • Don't have sex with someone who appears to have a sexually transmitted infection. If your partner has signs or symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, such as burning during urination or a genital rash or sore, don't have sex with that person.
  • Consider regular gonorrhea screening. Annual screening is recommended for sexually active women younger than 25 and for older women at increased risk of infection. This includes women who have a new sex partner, more than one sex partner, a sex partner with other partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection.

Regular screening is also recommended for men who have sex with men, as well as their partners.

 

Treatment

 Antibiotics are the most common treatment for gonorrhea. The following excerpt from an article explains the treatment course. 

  • Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea. As with all antibiotic protocols, it is important to take all of the medicine as directed or otherwise the medicine may not work. Both partners require treatment to keep from passing the infection back and forth.
  • Getting treatment as soon as possible helps prevent the spread of the infection and lowers your risk for other problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Many people who have gonorrhea also have chlamydia, another STI. If you have gonorrhea and chlamydia, you will get medicine that treats both infections.
  • Avoid all sexual contact while you are being treated for an STI. If your treatment is a single dose of medicine, you should not have any sexual contact for 7 days after treatment so the medicine will have time to work.
  • Having a gonorrhea infection that was cured does not protect you from getting it again. If you are treated and your sex partner is not, the chance of reinfection is likely.

Take care of your health by practicing safer sex, getting tested regularly, openly communicating with your partners and being aware of all of your health needs! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Talking to Your Parents About Sex

This seems pretty cringe worthy right? Bringing up the conversation about sex with your parents? It’s definitely an uncomfortable situation to be in, but it’s very important that you do. “83% of kids your age are afraid to ask their parents about sex. Yet 51% of teens actually do. Why? Teens who talk with their parents about sex are less likely to become pregnant because they’re more likely to use contraception or protection when they become sexually active.”


Knowledge is power and the more you know the better to keep yourself safer from many of the unwanted implications that may arise from having misinformation prior to having sex. Trust us, your parents will probably feel just as uncomfortable as you, but it’s very important to have a comfortable space to ask questions and share thoughts to learn about sex. 


The following tips provided by I Wanna Know are very useful:


Set the Stage

 

  • Try to pick a time when neither of you is in a hurry or a bad mood. "Not now" is not the answer you're shooting for.
  • Choose a place that's comfortable and private. Your bedroom, the car or a park are all good options. The idea is to minimize distractions and interruptions.

Set the Tone

 

  • The best way to ensure that your side of the discussion will be respected is to show respect to theirs. It's natural for you to have differing opinions; acknowledge it and respond tactfully: "I want to think more about what you've said. Can I ask you a different question?"
  • Be polite. Good manners help keep the conversation on a high level of respect and can even elevate it to a higher level, especially if one of you says or does something "wrong."
  • Be truthful. What's the point in asking questions if you don't want real answers? Besides, you know what happens when you're not honest. Somehow, sometime it comes back to haunt you. So just say what you mean.
  • Be direct. If you want to know about any sensitive issue, ask. The only way to get a clear answer is to ask a question clearly.
  • Listen. You might be surprised by how much they know and how good their advice is.

Choose an Approach

 

  • "I heard someone say..." (Fill in the blank with your question.) Then follow with: "Is that true?"
  • "Some of the kids at school are doing... (Fill in the blank again.) I want to know what you think."
  • "I saw this... (movie/TV show/article/ad) about... (Yup, fill in the blank again). What does it mean?"
  • "What was dating like when you were my age?"
  • "Did your friends try to pressure you into having sex or doing something you didn't like?"
  • "Our sex-ed teacher told us about... (You know what to do here.) and I have questions I'd rather ask you."
  • "I'm worried about my friend (Don't fill in the blank.) and want to help him/her. What do you think I should I do?"
  • "I'm wondering what the right age is to have sex. Can we talk about it?"

Stop on a Good Note


Talking about sex with a parent or another caring adult shouldn't be a one-time, big talk. Instead, turn it into an ongoing dialogue by leaving the door open for further discussion. Thank your mother, father, or whoever you talk to for taking the time to help.


If you Can’t Talk to Your Parents


There are some instances when parents are not available to talk about sex, or perhaps you or your parents still feel uncomfortable to talk about sex. If this is the case for you, think about another adult that you trust and have a relationship with that you can have an open conversation with about sex. Perhaps you have a school nurse that you can book some time with or even a family friend. Another great option would be your family doctor, this provides you with a safe place to ask all of the questions you need. When it comes your sexual, physical, and mental health it’s incredibly important that you make the informed decisions to keep you safe as possible. 


Additional Resources


“The Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources for Parents are online resources aimed specifically at parents of adolescents and young adults.  Health care providers and youth serving professionals can offer these additional resources or print the PDF one-page reference sheet to parents looking for additional information, including online resources, support groups, peer networks, helplines, treatment locators, and advocacy opportunities.”

 

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What do you call your condom?


A Condom by Any Other Name….


Sex is a universal activity.  Regardless of nationality, it is a natural and healthy activity in our lives.  Safer sex is also something that people around the world strive to achieve, either to reduce the risk of an unwanted pregnancy or aid in the prevention of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).  A combination of historical events, openness about sexual health, and social mores of different cultures have resulted in many unique names for a condom.  
 


Condoms Around the World


There are many different words and phrases to describe a condom. Some of the more unique slangs for a condom are listed here:

 

  • The longest word for a condom is from Denmark.  Imagine going into a pharmacy asking for a box of svangerskabsforebyggendemiddel!!!!   Thankfully they are also referred to as gummimand, a word that translates into rubberman.   

 

  • England calls condoms a French Letter – a reference that goes back to the Anglo-Saxon wars and rise of STIs

 

  • France uses the phrase English Cap for similar reasons why the English say French Letters

 

  • Penis Cap derives from Nigeria and the word okpuamu.  Many early condoms throughout history literally covered the head of the penis only; hence the cap.

 

  • Bulletproof Vest is from the word Pei dang vi in Hong Kong.

 

  • Germany is creative with Naughty Bags!  Condoms are referred to as lumelle, which is naughty bags in English.  Or they just ask for kondoms!

 

  • Portugal has Venus Shirts.  The God of Love seems to make sense when a condom is involved.

 

  • Hungary uses ovsver which means safety tool. Makes sense!

 

  • South Korea also calls condoms love and necessity.  Sounds great!

 

  • Chinese slang for condom is baoxian.  This translates into insurance glove

Interestingly, no matter the country, so many of the slang terms refer to safety and protection.  This is an integral part of the condom’s history.  At 98% effectiveness when used properly, condoms are a fantastic way to help make sex safer for all!


Practicing Safer Sex


Regardless of what you call a condom, just use one!   The “No Glove, No Love” slogan from the 1980s still rings true today. Help protect yourself and your partner during sexual activities by using a condom or oral barrier. Safer Sex can be fun!  

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What is Chlamydia?


“Chlamydia (kluh-MID-e-uh) trachomatis (truh-KOH-muh-tis) is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. You might not know you have chlamydia because many people don't have signs or symptoms, such as genital pain and discharge from the vagina or penis.”


How do you get it?


Chlamydia is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex when one of the partners has the infection. If an individual has previously been treated for the bacterial infection, they are still at risk of contracting it again. 


Symptoms


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system.


Women with symptoms may notice

 

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge;
  • A burning sensation when urinating.

Symptoms in men can include

  • A discharge from their penis;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).

Men and women can also get infected with chlamydia in their rectum. This happens either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina). While these infections often cause no symptoms, they can cause

 

  • Rectal pain;
  • Discharge;
  • Bleeding.

 

You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STI or symptoms of an STI. STI symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.


What are some complications that can arise?


Mayo Clinic has created a list of complications that Chlamydia can be associated with: 

 

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that causes pelvic pain and fever. Severe infections might require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus, including the cervix.

 

  • Infection near the testicles (epididymitis). A chlamydia infection can inflame the coiled tube located beside each testicle (epididymis). The infection can result in fever, scrotal pain and swelling.

 

  • Prostate gland infection. Rarely, the chlamydia organism can spread to a man's prostate gland. Prostatitis can cause pain during or after sex, fever and chills, painful urination, and lower back pain.

 

  • Infections in newborns. The chlamydia infection can pass from the vaginal canal to your child during delivery, causing pneumonia or a serious eye infection.

 

  • Ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. The pregnancy needs to be removed to prevent life-threatening complications, such as a burst tube. A chlamydia infection increases this risk.

 

  • Infertility. Chlamydia infections — even those that produce no signs or symptoms — can cause scarring and obstruction in the fallopian tubes, which might make women infertile.

 

  • Reactive arthritis. People who have Chlamydia trachomatis are at higher risk of developing reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter's syndrome. This condition typically affects the joints, eyes and urethra — the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside of your body.

Prevention Methods


As the most common sexually transmitted infection, and one of the most difficult infections to diagnose early on, it’s incredibly important that safety precautions are set in place when you are sexually active. Some good measures to take to stay safer include;

 

  • Condoms. When used correctly, male or female condoms decrease your risk of contracting Chlamydia.

 

  • Screenings. When you are sexually active, it’s very important to have regular discussions with your doctor in regard to your sexual health. If you have multiple partners, you should talk to your doctor to schedule regular screenings for chlamydia as well as other STI’s.

 

  • Treatment. If you have concluded that you have contracted Chlamydia, the good news is that it can be easily cured with antibiotics. According to the CDC, once you have received your antibiotics:

 

“Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sexual activity for 7 days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a 7-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to partners. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure chlamydia. Medication for chlamydia should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. If a person’s symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, he or she should return to a health care provider to be re-evaluated.”

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How to Use a Male Condom

Although not difficult, using a condom can be a tricky thing if you have not used one before, and it is very important that you use them correctly. If a condom is not put on in a correct manner it can increase the potential risk of contracting or transmitting an STI, reduce the effectiveness of its birth control properties, and can cause varying health complications. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Practice putting one on so that when you are in a situation you are already comfortable with the process.

 

  • Before opening your condom, be sure to read any special information that is provided on the packaging of your condoms. Be aware of the type of condom that you are using and the material it is made of.  If you have known allergies (especially to latex), it is important that you know what your condoms are made from to reduce the risk of any reactions to the condom and/or lubricant that is used. It is also very important to be aware of the expiry date on the packaging of your condom. Never use a condom that is expired.  Make sure you store your condoms at room temperature and never in your wallet or glove compartment. 

 

  • Once you have read the packaging, remove the condom from the box. You will notice that each condom is individually wrapped, as they are a single use device.  Again, it is important to read the packaging on the individual condoms noting anything specific prior to opening it. Once you have read the packaging, most condoms have a spot that makes opening easier or instructions on where to open the package. You want to make sure that you open it from its packaging carefully.  Do not use your teeth, fingernails, or any sharp objects (such as scissors or a knife) to open the package – you do not want to damage the condom inside.

 

  • When you remove most condoms from their packaging, you will notice there may be a liquid like texture. This is called lubricant and is used to keep the condom moist during sexual intercourse to help prevent possible irritation. Lubricant also helps reduce the risk of your condom breaking. If you have a condom that is not pre-lubricated, you can purchase some separately and apply it yourself when you are ready to use it.  Never use oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly, mineral oil, baby oil, or vegetable oil. They can damage the materials of the condom and affect how it works. 

 

  • Place the condom on the erect penis. If the penis is not erect, the condom will not fit properly or stay on. You will notice there is an opening on one end with a ring around it – this ring is to help keep the condom in place.  The other end of the condom has a pointed tip (reservoir) to collect any bodily fluid that is ejaculated from the penis. When placing the condom on the penis, make sure the ring is on the outside, and place it on the tip of the penis leaving a little room in the reservoir to collect the semen.

 

  • Once the condom is on the penis, gently squeeze the tip on the outside to remove as much air as possible inside the condom. Hold the tip of the condom and gently roll the ring all the way up the shaft of the penis. If you experience any difficulties rolling the condom, throw it away and try a new one. Difficulties rolling a condom may indicate it is damaged, it may be too old, or it was stored incorrectly.  Never use a brittle condom.

 

  • Once the condom is on correctly it should not move around or feel too tight and uncomfortable. It is extremely important to ensure you have the correctly sized condom for your penis.  If it is not the correct size it could cause the condom to break or fall off during intercourse, increasing the risk of pregnancy or transmission of an STI.

 

  • Once you have ejaculated, it is important to immediately remove the condom while the penis is still somewhat erect. Carefully and securely keep the condom in place while removing it from the penis. Be sure to always hold the condom by the ring end to ensure the collected semen does not fall out. Once you have removed the condom, properly dispose of it by twisting the ring end and wrapping it in a piece of tissue or paper and putting it in the garbage.  Do not flush the condom down the toilet.

Putting on a condom is not difficult; however, it may take a few tries to put one on properly and comfortably.  

 

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History of Condoms

 

Condoms have been around for centuries in one form or another.  Cave drawings found in French cave paintings from sometime around 10000-13000 BC and an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic from around 1000 BC are some of the oldest known records of condoms.  And everything between then and now is a colorful and controversial history.


Condoms through history


History shows that people were making condoms out of many different items in their attempts to have safer sex.  Animal intestines, linens, tortoise shells, silk, fish bladders, and many other unique, some quite gross, things were used to make condoms.  The 1700s saw the beginnings of widespread sale of contraceptives with the large number of European slaughterhouses.  The discarded organs were repurposed into sheaths for the prevention of pregnancy.   These “skins,” as they were called, became the most affordable and accessible form of contraception at the time.   Archaeologists have even found animal-membrane condoms dating back to the mid 1600s. 


Condoms and Casanova


Casanova is regaled to be the greatest lover of all time.  It may be his own claim to fame, but one thing he did do for sure was to help to remove the stigma of condoms during the late 1700s.  Yes, even then there was a stigma attached to condoms.  Casanova kept detailed notes about his escapades and the fact that he used condoms to help prevent getting any diseases, specifically syphilis.  He was definitely ahead of his time with this one!


The Rubber Revolution


The big turning point in the access to and production of condoms came in the mid 1800s.  Charles Goodyear figured out a method of rubber vulcanization that single-handedly kick-started modern latex technologies. By 1870, condoms were available almost anywhere in the US you could buy day to day staples.  But still condoms were mainly thought to be for protection against unwanted pregnancy and not as much for disease prevention.  That changed with World War I.


The War on STIs


During WWI gonorrhea and syphilis were both rampant amongst the troops. Condoms were handed out to many of the troops in Europe but were not standard issue for North Americans. The fight against STIs became more scientific as the number (and cost) of infections rose.   By WWII condoms were regular military issue so that “the boys” didn’t bring home something unexpected.  The messaging on the condom tins and foils were focused on fighting disease no differently than fighting the war.


Condom Today


Condoms have come a long way. They are now available in all different sizes, colors, flavors, shapes. They glow in the dark.  They have different shaped tips. They can be tattooed.  They can be latex or non-latex.  They are available online, in grocery stores, pharmacies, adult stores, corner stores, gas stations - pretty much anywhere you can think of.  Today condoms are recognized as both a barrier method for pregnancy prevention and to help reduce the transmission of infections.  They are scientifically tested and controlled as medical devices to ensure that they meet certain criteria for safety.  They are advertised on TV, online, in magazines and other marketing formats.  Throughout history they have rode the waves of controversy, no different than many other sexual health products.  But condoms have withstood, and continue to withstand, the test of time because they work!  

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