What I am about to discuss is adult material, so if you are not up for reading mature subject matter, you have been warned.
STDs. Sexually Transmitted Diseases are a crap load of stigma on young black women. You all have heard the stats: we, young black women; have the highest rate of infection. First thing is first, before you have sex with anyone, from this day forward, make it a priority to get tested for every possible STD you can. Note*** some women I have encountered have assumed a regular pap-smear would take care of the HPV test, since it is supposed to indicate abnormalities of the cervix, and HPV causes cervical cancer. It is my belief that a woman needs to specifically ask for the HPV test. Several pap-smears come back NORMAL and a woman could still be infected with HPV. It is estimated that 80% of women in the U.S. will get HPV at some point in their lives, and it is in your best interest to educate yourselves regarding the matter. See this website for more info: http://www.thehpvtest.com/
1) STDs can be transmitted through bodily fluids and skin to skin contact. Yea, we have heard the first one, but the skin to skin contact is a shocker for some ladies. Better yet, sometimes the infected party may not show any sign of infection on their skin, and months or years later, one is rudely awakened to know they have acquired an STD. In addition, the usage of a condom, if having sex with a male, does not cover the entire genital area. the shaft of the penis may be covered, but his groin is still exposed and would most likely touch your genitals during the sexual act. This could tranfer an STD to you even while using a condom.
2) Many STDs may not cause symptoms. In fact, you may be confusing an STD for another disease. Doctors have been known to confuse things as well. Simply doing a search of STD photographs on google is not sufficient enough to decipher what is going on down there. Those photographs are often displays of advanced stages of STDs and very rarely show what it looks like for a black female. Let me be clear that a personal Gynecologist should be a necessity for all of the young black women out there. Look up a reputable gynecologist online in your area; check their credentials and reviews if you can. Check with Health Services if you are currently attending a college or university. Sometimes they offer their services for free to female students.
3) Some STDs DO NOT have a test for males to take, like the dreadful Human Papilloma Virus (genital warts). This means that even if the guy a person chooses to have skin to skin contact, oral, anal, or vaginal sex with, is infected with an STD and shows no physical signs of infection, the only way he would know, is if you showed signs of infection after having skin to skin contact, oral, anal, or vaginal sex with him.
4)for the lesbian or bisexual young black women out there, know that skin to skin contact is a risk as well and despite rumors of lesbian women being least likely to contract STDs, this is not the case. In fact, these kinds of rumors contribute to the transfer of STDs even more among the lesbian community. Using sex toys to aid in vaginal or anal penetration from one partner to another, could transfer an STD. If using a condom on the sex toy, be sure to change it when penetrating the other partner. Cunnilingus should be performed using a barrier like a dam, cut open condom, or latex glove. Check out this link for ways to have safer sex with your special female someone: http://std.about.com/od/stdsspecificcommunities/a/lesbiansafesex.htm
you can also find information here: http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/sex/a/safersex.htm
or do your own search to know more.
5) Want more info in general, here is a place to start: http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/std-general.html or you could simply browse through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Website: http://www.cdc.gov/ . They have a plethora of information on specific STDs
Bottom line: The only real “safe” sex, is no sex at all. But because I like sex, as I am sure other readers of this blog do too, we have to understand, acknowledge and accept that we are taking a risk. Make sure he, she, or you, wears a condom! Carry condoms yourself; you do not have to rely on the other partner for condoms at all. And if a guy or girl thinks you are “fast” or a slut because you are in possession of condoms, then he or she does not deserve to sleep with you. For those of you considering taking your relationships to a more intimate level, why not plan a day when you both go to get tested for everything? It may seem awkward, but your health is all you really have. Doing this forces people to think maturely about the sexual act. If the other party refuses, that may be a blessing in disguise. Know that there are ways of being intimate with someone without having sex. And for all purposes, an intimate night with just you, your imagination, and no one else is always an option. Never feel guilty about the idea or act of masturbating because looking out for our needs first and foremost, is a lesson we should all remember in our quest to live well.
About Young BW Determined to Live Well
After being a faithful reader of various blogs dedicated to positively influencing black women, I recognized quite a few young black women in their teens, 20's, and 30's who were touched by the message as much as myself. This blog is my attempt to reach out and connect with young black women on issues we may be facing at a very transitional time in our lives. I encourage all, irrespective of age, class, origin, etc. to participate in the discussions and brainstorming sessions we have. I look forward to the potential of this blog and hope to hear from Young Black Women Determined to Live Well like myself!