STD Awareness Month is here and people are going to try to scare you or bore you with statistics. Here are a few snippets of real world information that will help you deal with all this scaremongering and squeamish subject matter so that you can take away a more sensible message by the end of April. That message is simply to be a little more careful. Throwing caution to the wind is okay if you are entering a cake shop, but that cake is not going to affect the way you pass water in two weeks. So let’s put STD Awareness Month in perspective here.
It is scary to think about the fact you can sleep with someone and get a disease for the rest of your life. The stuff you can catch is positively frightening if you look up some pictures, and not to devalue the discomfort women get, but the ones for men look far far worse. A man is not defined by his penis, but it certainly has an effect on his life, and if you don’t believe that, then talk to a guy that just lost his. The last thing you want is sores and pus coming from it.
It doesn’t work for smoking ads, so why would it work for STD ads? The smoking adverts show you pictures of men with big lumps on their necks and a pair of black lungs. It’s gross but it affects nobody because you can walk around the street and see successful and beautiful people smoking that have never had an ill day in their life. If they at least brought the ads back to earth a little it may help, like showing the difference between the skin and wrinkles of a 40yr old woman’s face that smoked for 20 years and one that has never smoked.
They do the same with STD adverts. They show you some guys back full of red blotches or a rash down a woman’s bikini line, and it is gross, but it is all forgotten the next time a hot woman suggests going home for coffee and you don’t have any condoms. They could at least bring it back to earth a little, like showing a guy out with the lads and they are all having a great time but he cannot drink because he’s on penicillin. Or, scare women by showing a group of men at work giving their opinions about a woman that has genital warts. Those sorts of things will scare people into thinking twice, not a picture of a lip with a nasty mark on it because most people don’t know or see that sort of thing 99% of the time.
Oh yes, there are plenty of marketing agents that have not had sex in 30 years and they are going to enjoy filling adverts with some very nasty pictures to try to scare you.
Don’t pay too much attention to the slogans because they too are often pointless, like saying, “If you sleep with that person unprotected, then you are sleeping with every person they have been with.” Sounds convincing to a marketing agent, but it is like saying that every time you sit on a toilet seat you are touching butts with every person that has ever sat down there! Don’t let the foolish machinations of dried up marketing departments pull you away from the real issues.
If you see any adverts then at least pay attention to just how many illnesses you can get from unprotected sex, and then start asking yourself if you really want to go unprotected with that stranger you just met. Plus, there are some things that you get for life and it’s never worth it (unless you got it in the threesome with Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp).
You are going to hear a lot of them during STD Awareness Month, so let’s separate the poignant from the pointless. There is one that says, “People with gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to catch HIV.” What they fail to point out is that some people don’t learn their lesson! If they are dumb enough to ride all they see without a condom, then they are going to pick up some nasty diseases.
“One out of five people with an STD don’t know they have it”. Now that is a statistic we need to hear. Remember it only says people “with” an STD, and not that 1 out of 5 people have one. What we need to hear is that there is a chance you may have an STD and not know it. That is enough to make some people think, “Hmm, I should get tested now and again.” That alone will make a bigger impact than telling us that 20 million people get an STD every year - because we don’t know them. There are not people falling over at bus stops as if there is a plague hitting the streets, but knowing that some STDs are quiet and sneaky is enough to convince most people to get tested from time to time.
Don’t let STD Awareness Month scare you away from sex, especially if you are in a loving relationship. Take it in perspective, stop throwing caution to the wind, and you will be alright.
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