HIV, Aids and STIs

If you're sexually frustrated  in your post divorce life after divorce you may be thinking, 'Sex! Chance would be a fine thing', but remember the words of Woody Allen 'Don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone you love'.

man and woman embracingSexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
After years spent in a monogamous marriage, getting divorced may mean that you are not fully au fait with the latest genital infections.  Most STIs are caused by micro-organisms such as bacteria (chlamydia and gonorrhoea) and viruses (HIV, genital herpes).  These infections can be passed from one person to another during intimate physical contact.  Sexual intercourse, non-penetrative genital contact and oral sex can all transmit an infection. 

If you think you may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection, visit your GP as soon as possible.  If necessary, you will be referred to a genitourinary medicine clinic (GUM), where specialist nurses, doctors and health advisers will treat the problem.  Unlike most clinics, people can make their own appointments at a GUM clinic, and all visits are strictly confidential. It is vital that you keep appointments and attend as required.

What symptoms should you be looking out for?

Frequent urination. 
Burning and pain when you urinate.
Dripping or discharge (white and watery or yellowish and thick) from the penis.
Sores, bumps, or blisters near or on the penis, testicles or mouth.

Itching and burning in and around the vagina.
Bleeding when not having a period.
Change in the colour, amount, or smell of the discharge from your vagina.
Pain inside your vagina when you have sex, or bleeding after sex.
Sores, warts, bumps, or blisters around your mouth, vagina, or anus.
Pain or cramps when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
Frequent urination.
Flu-like symptoms (such as achy joints, chills and fever).
Abdominal or pelvic pain.

There are around 25 types of STI, the most common of which are: chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhoea, genital herpes, non-specific urethritis, syphilis, pubic lice, hepatitisB and HIV/AIDS.

If you suspect you may have an STI you must stop having intercourse immediately and seek medical advice as soon as you can.

HIV and Aids
If sexual intercourse is inevitable then the most effective way to reduce the risk of infection with HIV/AIDS is to use a condom. Numerous studies have shown that condoms, if used consistently and correctly, are highly effective at preventing HIV infection.  Another significant way to reduce risk is to treat sexually transmitted infections promptly.  These infections, if left untreated, have been found to facilitate HIV transmission during sex.

If you are embarrassed about going into a chemist to buy condoms - and women as well as men should be armed with them - they can buy online.

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