Ladies and Gentlemen, we here at ButtercupPunch have thoroughly enjoyed being able to celebrate Safe Sex week with you, and your stories and comments about personal experiences have helped to create a dialogue which is informative, educational, humorous, heart warming and thought provoking. Below is a contribution from one of our wonderful and supportive readers, a public health professional who has dedicated their career to issues of education, prevention and legislation of public health policy. ~Ed.

So often the concept and practice of safe sex is vagina centric, especially from a man’s perspective. Yet, the risk for STD exposure is just as real through oral sex and anal sex. Any STD that can infect a woman vaginally can also infect her through the mouth, throat, and rectum. The eye can also be a point of infection for those engaging in oral sex where the ejaculate/cum is spewed onto the face. Thank you male centric porn industry for that one! Unfortunately, the symptoms of non-vaginal STD infections may not be as apparent to the infected individual and practitioners are frequently less adept at diagnosing non-vaginal STDs.

Although a partner may appear “clean and clear,” infections can exist in a sub-clinical state where symptoms are not readily apparent, yet the individual is still infectious. This lack of apparent symptoms often makes people resistant or simply dismissive of testing. Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis are notorious for being asymptomatic in men, while giving women the typical discharge symptoms.

Syphilis, which is making a disturbing return, is only apparent by odd physical symptoms, not the “typical discharge” associated with a STD. In the primary stage it’s noted by a painless chancre, which is a nickel sized sore at the point of infectious entry. Secondary syphilis is noted by a rash on the palms of the hands and/or soles of the feet. Tertiary syphilis is noted by the infection’s attack on the internal organs and may take years to progress before it results in dementia and death. Syphilis, like any of the other bacterial STDs, can be treated with antibiotics in the earlier stages.

Hepatitis B can be contracted through exposure to bodily fluids and needle sharing. A Hep B infection may manifest through very general symptoms such as fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice. It is important to realize many people with acute hepatitis never demonstrate any symptoms, but are still infectious. This is another STD without the “typical discharge” symptoms. Treatment for Hep B can be protracted and complicated, with some individuals battling the disease for life.

HIV is also contracted through exposure to blood, semen, and vaginal fluid and is not detectable through physical symptoms. There are medications to manage the symptoms of HIV infection, but HIV ultimately results in a very premature death for the infected individual.

A woman’s body is very much a receiving vessel during vaginal, oral and anal sex. Take care of yourself by insisting on condoms and current, thorough STD screening. Judging someone as “clean and clear” should only be based on current STD clinical screening, not a home assessment of the lack of symptoms. While some STDs can be resolved through antibiotics, several STDs are capable of destroying your fertility or killing you. No one’s attention or affection is worthy of sacrificing your health!

*Contributed by AGreenEyeDevil*