Last month the Chicago Tribune reported that Northwestern University is offering a new human sexuality class this semester, “Sexual Subjects: Introduction to Sexuality Studies,” taught by Lane Fenrich. This raises many eyebrows as a year ago school officials caught a firestorm of embarrassing publicity after psychology professor J. Michael Bailey hosted an optional lecture on female arousal that concluded with a woman being penetrated by a motorized sex toy. The class was cancelled a short time later.
Herpes, or herpes simplex, is a virus transmitted through oral or genital contact. Oral herpes, or herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), is the most common, with nearly 60% of the U.S. population infected with the virus. Herpes simplex virus 2, or HSV-2, is spread through genital contact and affects about 16% of the U.S. population, these numbers coming from the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC.
The virus is characterized by sores, or blisters, that appear around the infected area (mouth in the case of HSV-1 and genitals or anus in the case of HSV-2). The sores associated with oral herpes are commonly referred to as “cold sores” or “fever blisters.” HSV-1 infection occurs when contact is made with the bodily fluid or sore of an infected person. HSV-2 is also spread through contact with the skin of an infected person who may or may not appear to have the associated sores. While HSV-1 is primarily found in the mouth area, it can also appear in the genital or anal area if infection occurred during oral sex.
For many American teenagers prom is the first time for wearing a formal gown or tuxedo, the first time for drinking or doing drugs, and the first time for having sex and getting an STD like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, HPV or HIV/AIDS. While parents expend a lot of energy worrying over what could go wrong, their energy would be better utilized preparing teens for what to do when it does. Here’s what scares your parents most.
A parent’s worst fear is that the police will come knocking on the door at two in the morning with their passed out son or daughter in the car or worse, with news of their death. Or, consider that they’ve spent roughly 18 years saving money for you to go to college and are thrilled about the scholarship you’ve won, but you won’t be able to go because you got pregnant or got someone pregnant on prom night. Third, they worry about the other guy and what he or she might offer or slip into your drink.
Taken by themselves, HIV and syphilis are serious enough, but combined they present a serious risk for anyone infected. Studies show that a person infected with syphilis is two to five times as likely to contact HIV, and not only because they practice unsafe sex. And it’s not just syphilis. Those with gonorrhea or herpes are also at increased risk for contracting HIV. Furthermore, those with HIV and another sexually transmitted disease, or STD, are more likely to infect others. There are a number of other factors that make dual infection likely.
One of the results, or symptoms, of syphilis is a sore, or chancre, that appears at the site of the original infection. When intact, the skin acts as a natural barrier to HIV transmission. A syphilitic chancre decreases the skin’s defenses to infection. The skin around the sore is compromised and worse, the chancre can actually turn into an open ulcer. Since this chancre appears at the site of the original infection, it is usually found on or near a sexual organ or other orifice, e.g. mouth or anus, making it even more prone to HIV infection. It’s not only syphilis that can make a person more vulnerable to HIV infection. Any STD, such as herpes, that produces a sore or ulcer can have the same effect.
For the past few weeks you’ve been experiencing symptoms of an STD—gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, or any number of other sexually transmitted diseases. You want to get tested, but is your family doctor the only option you have? Fortunately no. These days, there are many ways to be tested for an STD, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Your first option is a visit to your general practitioner, or family doctor. Your family doctor knows you, your health history, and testing may be covered by your insurance. Those are the advantages. The one big disadvantage is that going to see your family doctor to be tested for an STD may be embarrassing to some, and definitely lacks the confidentiality desired when it comes to Chicago STD testing. You may be seen going into the doctor’s office, thus prompting questions about your health. Also, even with privacy laws, visiting a family doctor may leave a paper trail where you would like none to be left.
While there are still misconceptions about genital herpes, how it is spread and what it means to be infected, we know a lot more than we did 5 years ago. Having a frank conversation with an STD testing counselor or your doctor about how to manage an infection and prevent its transmission to your sexual partners is now more important than ever.
Medical researchers estimate that 1 in 4 adults in the United States over the age of 18 is infected and as many as 90% are unaware that they are infected. Research shows that persons with asymptomatic genital herpes infection can not only transmit the disease but are the main source of transmitting HSV-2 (genital herpes) through viral shedding, with up to 70% of new infections resulting from viral shedding by persons who have no clinical signs or symptoms.
Undoubtedly at one point or another you’ve heard the expression, “Silence is golden”.
And while there are many instances in which the time-tested adage is most certainly apropos – when it comes to the subject of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, or STDs – silence is far from golden. It can be potentially deadly.
But due in part to greater access to Chicago STD clinics and testing, suffering in silence is no longer a viable option.
The advent of increasing numbers of cases involving a myriad of STDs such as HIV, Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis A,B and C as well as Syphilis have subsequently increased the call to eliminate the hush that often accompanies these diseases.
First and foremost, you are not ordering a pair of shoes. You have gathered the courage to get tested for STD’s. Now, it makes sense to get tested for STD’s using the RIGHT test. There are over 140 laboratory tests that test for the main infections that STD Testing of Chicago tests for…Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Herpes.
If you are more educated than 99% of the population and an infectious disease specialist that understands the difference between an IgM and IgG test or an antibody versus an antigen, then you can feel free to “click and order” a STD test from a website. If not, then you should be working with an online service that offers counseling for you during this very trying time.