Itchin’ STI available for short- or long-term relationship
By Andrea Arscott, Columnist
I’d love to get in your bum. I’m a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and I’m passionate about anal sex without a condom. If it’s not my lucky day, I’ll gladly take a trip into your vagina, penis, or mouth instead. When I’m done, you may not even know that I’ve left my mark. If you’re one of the fortunate ones, I’ll leave a trace of painless sores in or on your body, and if you’re extra-lucky, I’ll brand you with a surprise rash anywhere I desire.
This is how I roll: I spread my sores or rashes to your partners when they touch me. Call me a pervert, but I survive through skin-slapping activities. My name is syphilis, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. If you don’t treat me with a doctor’s visit, you’ll be sick over me. I might even break your heart, get in your head, and kill you.
You’ve probably guessed that I have a fetish for gay and bisexual men. I can’t resist them. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) my rates are the “highest in decades.” It also claims that in 2013, I, syphilis, created 561 new cases in BC. I’m nowhere near done infecting people, either. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to get in your pants.
If I’m not your flavour of the month, I’ll be happy to introduce you to my friend, gonorrhea. Gonorrhea, like me, can also invade your body without you knowing it. We love getting around this way because you have no idea you’re passing us on to your partners. You believe you’re healthy because you don’t have symptoms, so you don’t bother to get tested. STIs like us take full advantage of uninformed people like you who don’t know how we spread ourselves to others. Watch out, here we come!
Gonorrhea not only likes the rectum, the penis, and the cervix, but will also take a liking to your throat and eyes. The Public Health Agency of Canada puts out a little booklet about STIs (if you’re smart, you’ll pick one up at the Purpose Society). It warns that if you’re female, gonorrhea will cause a change or increase in your vaginal discharge, bleeding when you don’t have your period, bleeding during or after sex, pain in your lower abdomen, and pain when urinating. If you’re male, you can look forward to burning when you pee, a thick greenish-yellow discharge from your penis, burning or itching around your pee hole, and pain in your testicles.
If you come into contact with gonorrhea, good people will advise you to get to a clinic or doctor for treatment, but not me. I like it when we get nasty. The good doctor will likely examine your genitalia, swab the infected areas, and ask for a urine sample. That STI booklet I mentioned before says, “A lot of people who have gonorrhea also have the STI called chlamydia.” These two are like an STI match made in heaven with double the power to cause you pain and discomfort.
Like me, chlamydia can also have serious health issues if left untreated. Symptoms are similar to mine and gonorrhea’s, but chlamydia also likes to tickle your vagina, which naturally makes you itch. And if you’re a man, in addition to the havoc my friends and I inflict on your body, chlamydia also causes a watery or milky discharge to secrete from your penis.
And don’t forget—if one of us has gotten our hands on you, it will be easier for HIV to get into your body and take advantage of you too. We basically create a path for HIV to follow and enter your blood stream.
If you want to avoid entering a relationship with any and all of us, get tested and wear a condom.
Come down to the Purpose Society testing clinic at 40 Begbie Street in New West the first and third Friday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anonymous and rapid HIV testing, and STI and HCV testing. We also provide vaccines, free harm reduction supplies, and condoms! You can also get your questions answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org