Safe Sex Facts
Pregnancy and HIV/AIDS
Unprotected sex can cause pregnancy and can also spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including the HIV/AIDS virus. World health experts are concerned that the incidence of HIV/AIDS infections are increasing, not only in the developing nations of Africa, but also in countries such as the USA and Australia where a great deal of effort and money has been spent in educating the general public on the dangers of unprotected sex. In many parts of Africa and SE Asia, the greatest increase in HIV/AIDS infections is amongst heterosexual women who are being infected by their partners.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Other STI's include bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, vaginitis and viral infections including genital warts (HPV), herpes simplex, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Sexually transmitted infections are caused by viruses and bacteria that enter the body through cuts, sores and mucous membranes (vaginal walls, anus, mouth, eyes and nose). Bacteria living in the rectum or anus can also cause infections in the vagina. Touching (with the mouth or genitals) infected skin is a possible way to transmit STIs.
Dangers of unprotected oral sex
Infections such as chlamydia and herpes simplex, are also on the rise, mainly due to the general public being ignorant of how such infections can be transmitted. For example, recent research conducted by the University of Washington and the University of Pittsburgh showed that the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which commonly causes cold sores around the mouth, (HSV Type 1), is now causing many more cases of genital herpes when couples engage in unprotected oral sex. HSV 1 can be transmitted by saliva to another person during oral sex, causing painful sores in the genital area. Similarly, HSV Type 2, which typically causes genital herpes, can cause cold sores in the mouth. The CDC National Centre for HIV, STD and TB Prevention in the USA estimates that at least 45 million people in the USA are infected with either type of genital herpes. In Australia, approximately 20% of sexually active people have genital herpes.
Recent studies conducted in the USA regarding adolescent sexual behaviour have concluded that adolescents perceive oral sex as being "less risky, more prevalent and more acceptable than vaginal sex". The study recommends:
"Health care providers and other who work with youths recognise adolescents' views about oral sex and broaden their clinical preventative services to include screening, counselling and education about oral sex".
Play safe, don't forget your GLYDES
Although abstinence is the surest form of prevention, barrier products such as those manufactured and distributed by GLYDE Health, when properly used, help protect against pregnancy and the transmission of STIs.
A latex or non-latex condom should always be used during vaginal or anal intercourse to protect against pregnancy and STIs. Care should be taken when opening the condom foil package. Jewellery such as diamond rings and body piercings can damage condoms and condoms can be ripped or damaged by long or broken fingernails.
For further information on how to properly use a condom, download the "Instructions for Use" below.
Consult your health care professional
If you or your partner feel you may have a sexually transmitted infection, you should immediately consult your health care professional.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Journal 2005:32(2):84-89
CDC National Centre for HIV, STD and TB Prevention
Pediatrics Vol 115, No 4 April 2005