Gential Warts

Good morning everyone! hope you’re all having a good start to the weekend. It’s bank holiday on Monday!!! I hope non of you are having to work. Considering it’s a three day weekend this week, which means, more time to partaaaaaaay and have all kinds of fun. However, we don’t want any bad reminders from your wild (or not so wild) weekend. And so here is where STI Saturday comes in to save the day! The topic this week is Genital Warts. I know, warts on your private bits doesn’t sound great, does it? fear not, you’re going to find out all about it. Such as, what causes it, symptoms, how they’re diagnosed, the treatment options and how you can prevent getting warts.

Ok so, genital warts is caused by a virus, called the Human Papillomavirus or HPV for short. There are over 100 different types of HPV, but 90% of genital warts are caused by type 6 and 11. It is passed on through skin to skin contact, through vaginal or anal sex and sharing sex toys. So yep, wearing a condoms doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get genital warts. Soz. It also may take months or even years for warts to develop following a HPV infection, so if you’re in a relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean either of you has had sex with someone else.

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That’s the good news over. The bad news is that genital warts, although are harmless, can cause a lot of anxiety for the unfortunate ones who have to suffer with this. If you want to know what genital warts look like, then click the link here.  Apart from the obvious signs of having a wart on your genitals, they could also become itchy and irritated. If you have any unidentifiable skin bumps and you don’t know how they got there. Like, they’re definitely not an ingrowing hair or a spot, then pop down to your local sexual health clinic and a nurse should be able to diagnose it and treat it for you. Please note it will mean a nurse will have to take a look down there. But they’ve seen it all before. Guaranteed.

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It is important to get a diagnosis from a professional before you try any treatments, just to make sure you’re using the right stuff. Treatment will be free from your local clinic, you can find one here. The type of treatment depends greatly on the type and location of the warts, however, there are creams and lotions that you apply directly to the wart, or there’s removal by freezing, heating or generally just removing them. More on different treatment methods from the NHS Choices website. Do not have sex with other people if you have warts.

Did you know that although condoms aren’t guaranteed to stop you from getting HPV and genital warts, consistent use of condoms can reduce your risk by 30-60%! so there’s still a reason to use them. To find out how to make condoms feel better, we’ve done a blog post alllll about condoms below this one, and you can also read Cosmo’s article. ALSO DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS WARTS ON THEIR PENIS/VAGINA/BUTTHOLE. Thanks.

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I hope you’ve gained more of an understanding about genital warts and how they’re spread and what causes them in the first place etc. etc. BUT most importantly, how to prevent them! and if you still don’t. Then read this again goddamnit.

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Condoms!

So… it’s time to talk about the most popular contraceptive method in the UK.

Condoms!

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You may already know that condoms come in a variety of sizes, colours, shapes, textures and even flavours, but the aim of this blog is to expel any myths you may have heard about condoms and show you how important they are!!

So, let’s start with what they are (for those of you who have been living on another planet.) Condoms are thin, stretchy latex things that go over the penis to protect the penis from infection and prevent unwanted pregnancies. There are also Femedoms for females (more about those in another blog.)

What if I’m allergic to latex? Do not fear! Latex free condoms are also available and can be found here!

What are they used for I hear you ask? Well, they are used to protect the penis from sexually transmitted infections, or prevent the penis passing any infections on to their sexual  partner. The condom only protects the part of the penis it is covering so there is still a chance you could catch genital warts, herpes or public lice. They are also used to protect women from becoming pregnant as the condom stops the semen from entering the vagina.

The condom is the only way of protecting yourself from STI’s and has an efficacy rate of 98% providing you use them correctly. You can see how to put a condom on correctly here.

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Believe it or not; there are a number of myths that surround condoms and we want to help clear them up for you!

  • Using two condoms (also known as double bagging) is not better than using one. Using two condoms can increase the chances of the condom breaking due to friction between the two condoms. If you are worried about getting pregnant, use a back up contraceptive method such as the pill.
  • You do not have to be 18 to buy condoms, you can get them in many places such as chemists and high street shops such as Boots and Superdrug. If you don’t have money spare to buy condoms your local sexual health service will provide them free of charge.
  • Over the years people have used a range of beauty products as lubricant such as vaseline, lipstick, sun cream, body lotion and sun cream. None of these things should be used with a condom as the oil in them can weaken the rubber and cause it to break. If you need extra lubricant a water based one is most suitable, or even saliva if you’re out of lube.
  • Condoms should also be used during oral sex, this can prevent transmission of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes to the throat. These infections can all be passed orally so to ensure you do not catch one, use a condom.giphy5
  • As I mentioned before, condoms come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore if your partner says “I’m to big for condoms” or “they don’t do them in my size” ignore him, he’s lying. You can always find suitable condoms no matter the shape or size of the penis.
  • Condoms do expire! Before you engage in any sexual activity always check the expiration date on the packet. Using out of date condoms can result in the condom tearing due to weakening of the latex.
  • Consistently using condoms provides significant protection from HIV.
  • It is a myth that condoms make sex less enjoyable- in fact it can enhance your sex life. It has been proven that men are likely to last longer when wearing a condom. If you do experience discomfort when wearing a condom there may be an issue with the size and you should try an alternative size. There are tips on how to enjoy sex whilst using a condom here.

So, remember condoms are important for protection against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections and they have a high efficacy rate! Please use them.

We would like to thank our good friend Rebecca for her contribution towards this blog.

If you have any questions about condoms or any think we’ve missed any information please email us and let us know!

Thanks for reading!

Sex Ed x

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Staying safe whilst online dating

Online dating has been around since before I can remember, ‘match.com’ was founded in 1995! So it is not something that we know nothing about. However, since they become apps that you can easily access on your phone their popularity has soared. ‘Match.com’ has 26.6 million people registered- that’s more than the population of Australia.

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What I want to make you aware of is do you really know who you’re talking to? (Probably not) It’s all well and good chatting to a hot guy/girl but do you really know that they are who they say they are?

I’m sure if any of you have watched Catfish (weirdest show ever) you will have seen how meeting someone online can be slightly awkward when you come to meet them and they are not in the slightest who they said they were. Some of those on the show chose to stay in contact and form some sort of strange relationship however, most of the people could not believe the lies and hated the person from the moment they met them!

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The list of risks involved with online dating is endless- from stalking and harassment to fraud and blackmail. These are just a couple of things to be wary of!

We have a couple of tips in order to stay safe online:

  • Choose your username wisely- don’t use one that makes you easily identifiable. Don’t include your surname or any other identifying information. Be careful when using usernames with sexual, provocative or controversial phrases, this can attract the wrong type of attention.
  • If you plan to meet someone you have been chatting to online meet them in a public place where there are plenty of people around. It would also be a good idea if a friend could go to the same place and keep an eye on things. For example if you go to a restaurant , let your friend know and they could go with their boyfriend/girlfriend/friend and eat but also keep an eye on you that you are OK.
  • Never go to their home alone, this is a recipe for disaster! If they are not who they say they are and you end up in their home, this is not safe.
  • Keep your phone on you at all times, if there is an emergency this ensures you can contact someone who can help you.
  • Take advantage of social media- check your date out online, have a look at their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. This can help you confirm that you are in fact talking to who you think you are. It can help you find out if someone is lying about their identity.
  • If it sounds too good to be true- it probably is. People create all sorts of people online so if some of the things they are saying are very unlikely for example, they own a yacht in the Bahamas- ask questions!

Match.com provide a list of tips to stay safe whilst using their website, which is a good resource to look at if you are thinking of signing up with them. It can be found here.

We hope these staying safe online tips are useful to you! Be careful who you date and make sure you get to know them properly first- not just their name!

Dont forget you can now follow us on Twitter and Instagram or email the team if you have any queries.

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