AIDS Affair: Washing penis after sex doesn't prevent STIs

March 29, 2016

Washing penis after sex doesn't prevent STIs

Dear Counsellor,

I always thought I had a major problem and so I have been abstaining from sex for some time; I usually ease the sexual tensions by masturbating. Recently, I got so happy and say to myself that my stresses where sex is concerned are over. Counsellor, I have learnt that it is not everything a person must keep on the chest, it is good to talk with trusted friends. I say that because it was only while talking to a trusted friend that I get to understand that all I need to do is wash off the penis immediately after sex and have my girlfriend douche so we would not get sexual germs like AIDS and the others.

Happy and Free

Dear Happy and Free,

Genital hygiene is important and a good practice. However, there is no evidence that washing the genitals prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In fact, vaginal douching increases a woman's risk of acquiring STIs, including HIV, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

The only sure way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to abstain from all sexually activities; that is, oral, vaginal and anal. For persons who are sexually active, the only sure way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to use a condom every time or stick to one faithful partner who you know is uninfected.

Do pregnant women have a greater chance of getting HIV?

Dear Counsellor,

I have a concern about pregnancy. I would like to know if pregnancy places a woman at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV?

Want to Know

Dear Want to Know,

Current evidence is conflicting as to whether pregnancy increases a woman's chances of infection if exposed to HIV. What we do know is that if a woman becomes infected with HIV during pregnancy, the chances that HIV will be transmitted to her baby during pregnancy, delivery, and childbirth may be at their highest because she will have a high level of virus in her blood. It is therefore important for all pregnant women to protect themselves from HIV and other STIs through mutual faithfulness, condom use or abstinence. On the other hand, if a pregnant woman thinks that she may have HIV, she should seek HIV testing. Testing for HIV during pregnancy is extremely important to the both the health of the baby and the mother-to-be. Resources are available to help the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and this has been very effective.

For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444

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