Hello, all of my lovely badgers. Hopefully you all enjoyed a delightful and sexy spring break! Since April is Get Yourself Tested Month, this week’s questions are all about how to get it on while protecting yourself and anyone who gets close to your genitals.

Dear Hump Day Ladies, I hooked up with a random guy who I met at a bar over spring break and the condom broke. He said he was disease-free, but I am still worried. What would you recommend?

Firstly, it is very smart of you to be on the safe side, because, while we hope all partners are 100 percent truthful with us, things do happen. Maybe not on purpose, but some people are asymptomatic or just unaware of their status, or in the heat of the moment all caution gets thrown to the wind, etc. I would definitely recommend getting tested to be on the safe side. 

University Health Services provides testing for free if you are a student, and for all of April Planned Parenthood is also offering free testing through next-day appointments. As a rule of thumb, everyone should get tested yearly (so drag your friends out, too), and that is doubly true if you have had multiple partners or unprotected sex. 

STD symptoms can remain dormant or unnoticeable though still contagious. Not every case presents itself with obvious symptoms like burning or warts. In fact, one in four people in the country have an STD, according to the Center for Disease Control, so get tested and make sure you always know your status. A more informed generation is the best protection against the spread of STDs.

Now, I must commend you on trying to protect yourself and using a condom. Male latex condoms are highly effective against STDs spread through genital secretions, and are one of the best ways to reduce risk of infection. However, be aware that areas of the genitals not protected by the condom can still spread diseases, so condoms are not 100 percent effective. With that being said, still always use one, even if the you or your partner are on birth control, because STDs are nasty and condoms are free all over campus. And with all that being said, it is still possible that they break, as was the case for you, which nullifies the protection. To reduce the risk of this, I recommend using the variety that come pre-lubed, triple checking the expiration date and then adding an extra drop or two of lube (not oil based!) to reduce friction during intercourse. This strategy also has an added effect of increase pleasure for the wearer, so you can make safety sexy!

Finally, make sure that if you are given any treatment for an STD, or any disease for that matter, that you follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter. Some strains of gonorrhea are now drug-resistant, and the number of cases caused by these strains is on the rise. No one wants a crazy superbug STD on the loose, especially not on campuses where STDs spread so quickly. So, wrap it up, take every single dose of any medication and, for Pete’s sake, get yourself tested.

Hello, I am a male sophomore here, and someone told me I am supposed to get the HPV vaccine, but I thought it was just for girls. Is this true?

Great question! I really admire you trying to stay up to date on issues related to your sexual health. 

What you heard is indeed the truth. As of 2011, men aged 11-21 should receive the three-shot series of the human papillomavirus vaccine, as instructed by the CDC, and males 22-26 are also recommended to get the vaccine as well. Clinical research has shown this to be as effective for males as for females in reducing the spread of four strains of HPV as well as reducing cervical and anal cancers caused by those strains. 

Furthermore, laboratory testing for HPV is not approved for males and therefore cannot detect infection in males. This vaccine is important for reducing the number of males who unknowingly infect others. Therefore, I would meet with your family doctor or friendly UHS physician to talk about your options, fees associated with the vaccine, side effects, etc. I know UHS has some great literature you can pick up about the vaccine, and they really want to be a part of helping you stay safe. So make an appointment to get your specific questions answered!

That is it this week, Badgers. Please heed my advice and get tested this month and in the future. Together, we all can remove stigmas about getting tested and see some real reduction in the spread of STDs. I hope you become a part of working towards a healthier generation. Until next week, stay safe and stay sexy!

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