Women

Love Bugs (Part 1)

- 7 Kinds Of Fruit That Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

Here's what they didn't tell you in sex Ed class (or what you missed while you were dreaming about Taylor Hanson): The clap can make you infertile. Oral sex may cause cancer. And just because a bloke works with your BFF doesn't mean he doesn't have cooties. Why the lecture?

Because between new mutant strains and rising contraction rates, STIs are turning sex into a dangerous contact sport (and this is one time you don't want to be off under the blood rule).

STIs 2.0

Not sure how much you remember about the sexually transmitted infection (STI) affectionately called 'the clap', but you might as well forget it. There's a new strain of gonorrhoea in town, and it doesn't do antibiotics. The next gen gonorrhoea is not yet in Australia, but doctors are waiting like paparazzi at the airport when Kate Middleton's due in town.

Not sure how much you  remember about the sexually transmitted infection (STI)  affectionately called 'the clap', but you might as well  forget it.

Not sure how much you remember about the sexually transmitted infection (STI) affectionately called 'the clap', but you might as well forget it.

"It's definitely something we're waiting for and watching to see what happens," says Dr. Kathy McNamee, senior medical officer at Family Planning Victoria.

Essentially the bacteria have cottoned on to how the going antibiotics work and decked themselves out in camouflage suits.

"There's been a change in the antibiotics we've had to use for gonorrhoea over a number of years. It's one of those bacteria that are particularly smart in changing itself," Dr. McNamee explains.

The result? The infection that can lead to reduced fertility, or stop you having babies naturally altogether, is flying under the radar.

"While nearly all cases of gonorrhoea contracted in Australia remain treatable with an antibiotic injection as well as oral antibiotics, resistance to these antibiotics is rising and there is a real concern that we may be confronted with an untreatable strain in the future," says general practitioner Dr. Sam Tormey. Official incidence rates show that the incidence of gonorrhoea has increased by 50 per cent in the past five years, with 12,000 Aussies carrying the infection in 2011.

Perhaps the scarier bit is that we can't blame the Facebook party set. STIs in older Australians are rising faster than a bloke with a Viagra overdose. So concerned is Family Planning NSW, it has teamed up with dating site RSVP to launch Australia's first ever safe sex awareness campaign targeting older Aussies. The Little Black Dress Campaign is like a refresher class for over-40s, promoting safe sex and STI testing in the case of an iffy shag.

The Little Black Dress Campaign is like a refresher class for over-40s, promoting safe sex and STI testing in the case of an iffy shag.

The Little Black Dress Campaign is like a refresher class for over-40s, promoting safe sex and STI testing in the case of an iffy shag.

In a 2012 survey, RSVP found that singles in their 50s were most likely to sleep with a squeeze on the first date, and all age groups averaged two to four dates before fornicating.

Dr. Tormey says complacency and dwindling condom use are among factors making us toxic. "I'm not sure if it's blindness towards STIs or a general move away from the routine use of condoms. Condom use has declined in the last few years and there has been an associated rise in STIs.

"Compared to the 'shock and awe' campaigns for safer sex in the 1980's aimed principally against HIV infection but with great results in reducing other STIs contemporary campaigns do not appear to be as effective."

Avant garde infections

True, it won't get you preggers, but oral sex can cause a nasty kind of STI some studies have linked to oral cancer. Scientists have confirmed that oral sex can lead to contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), sometimes referred to as the wart virus. And malignancies of the lower mouth and throat linked to human papillomavirus (HPV), are increasing, according to the American Cancer Society. But Dr. McNamee says there is no need to panic.

"Oral sex is something that is really common and oral cancers aren't common," says Dr. McNamee. "So although oral sex is a risk factor for oral cancer we wouldn't be recommending that people don't have oral sex."

Another fashion-forward infection shows similar signs of resistance to antibiotics as the new gonorrhoea. Mycoplasma genitalium, a parasitic bacterium STI with some similarities to chlamydia, is often symptomless.

"So although oral sex is a risk factor for oral cancer we wouldn't be recommending that people don't have oral sex."

"Most of the public aren't familiar with it and even a lot of GPs may not have heard of it," says Dr. McNamee.

"We don't routinely screen for it and there are often not any symptoms, but sometimes we do have someone who has genital symptoms like a urethral discharge and we test for it. Although the antibiotics are the same as what we use for chlamydia there's unfortunately a higher chance that those antibiotics won't work."

Endangered species

The good news first: genital wart infections are on the decline, thanks to a widespread Gardasil vaccination program introduced for Australian females aged under 26 four to five years ago. The vaccine is also being introduced for boys.

"HPV is one virus but there are a whole lot of subgroups within it. There's a whole stack of them that infect the genital area and the Gardasil vaccine vaccinates against the four most common types." Gardasil takes aim at types 16 and 18, which are associated with cancer of the cervix, and 6 and 11, which are associated with genital warts, Dr. McNamee says.

The vaccine is credited with an early decline in female wart infections and a small decline in heterosexual male infections, who are not inheriting the virus from their female partners. "We hope there will be a huge reduction in the risk of cervical cancer," says Dr McNamee. "Studies and pap tests are really encouraging but at this stage we can't put a figure on what the reduction will be."

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