This edition we talked to Amy, SHINE SA’s Medical Educator, who is answering all your questions when it comes to the ‘what’s this’ and ‘how do I check that’ of sex.
How often should people who are sexually active get tested?
You should have a test when symptoms of a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) are first noticed or if a sexual partner is diagnosed with an STI or has symptoms of an STI. Even if you have no symptoms STI screening is recommended for any new sexual contact. Annual screening for people under 30 is recommended, but you can have a test every 3 months if you think you may be at higher risk.
Six questions can identify HIV-positive gay men who are at elevated risk of having acute (recent) hepatitis C infection and who would benefit from further testing, according to a paper published in Eurosurveillance last week. The risk score was based on data from a Dutch cohort and has been validated with separate datasets from Belgium, the Netherlands and England.
The six questions in the risk score concern self-reported behaviours:
Condomless receptive anal intercourse in the past six months (score 1.1)
Sharing of sex toys in the past six months (score 1.2)
Fisting without gloves in the past six months (score 0.9)
Injecting drug use in the past 12 months (score 1.4)
Sharing of straws to snort drugs in the past 12 months (score 1.0)
An ulcerative sexually transmitted infection in the past 12 months (score 1.4)
New research by Trojan condoms with the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN) surveyed 2,400 Canadians between the ages of 40 and 59 about their sex lives.
63 per cent said they’re more sexually adventurous than they were a decade ago. 65 percent reported their last sexual encounter as being “very pleasurable.”
Findings also showed that two-thirds of single men and almost three-quarters of single women in the survey said that they didn’t use a condom the last time they had sex. More than half of those men had more than two partners in the past year. Almost three-quarters of single women said they did not use a condom the last time they had sex, and a third of those had more than two partners in the past year.
56 per cent of single men and 61 per cent of single women are “not very concerned” or “not at all concerned” about contracting an STI. Lack of concern seems to be translating into high risk behavior.
British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Canada
A common question people have is “What are my chances of getting an STI?” While there is no simple answer, the charts below give an estimate of your chances, when your partner has that sexually transmitted infection (STI). These charts are based on research where possible, and have been reviewed by STI experts in British Columbia.
These charts don’t cover every situation or every STI.
For example, for HIV the charts do not address the fact that risk of transmission is even lower if your partner is on treatment for HIV and has undetectable viral load.
Here’s what the different chances mean in the charts:
Not passed (or possible only in theory): There is no possibility for passing the infection or it is theoretically possible, but there is no evidence that this happens.
Not commonly passed: This is not a common way to pass the infection but it may be possible with the right conditions (e.g., if condom breaks).
Can be passed: The infection can be passed this way with the right conditions (for example, from skin which is not covered by a condom or barrier).
Easily passed: The infection is easily passed this way.
The topic of sex is constantly talked about in the media, yet there is a taboo surrounding the issues that many people with disabilities face when they want to have sex, or even talk about sex, both from the general public and the medical profession.