PRIDE AND PROTECTION
June 9, 2021
Condoms are 98 percent effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases, or avoiding pregnancy. They are provided at drugstores, clinics, and through various online shopping sites. Yet, when it comes to women who are not exclusively heterosexual, you don’t see the safe sex options being broadcasted to the public. In this case, The SIREN went on to investigate:
Women who are not exclusively heterosexual “are at risk of acquiring bacterial, viral, and protozoal sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” writes Linda Gorgos and Jeanne Marrazzo in an Oxford Study. “There, women who reported a history of a female partner had a prevalence of BV [Bacterial Vaginosis] of 45.2 percent.”
After reviewing these alarming facts, the next step was to interview doctors, who gave advice about not becoming a statistic.
“Obviously, having a committed relationship where everyone is tested [is] a great, easy, sustainable way to prevent STD transmission,” Grace Ferguson, an OB/GYN from New York says.
There are some other ways to prevent disease. Another gynecologist, Martha Harrison from New York, wants to inform readers that the Center of Disease and Control Prevention has lots of useful prevention information on their website.
But maybe you are someone who wants to take extreme precautions, such as getting tested for STDs and asking your partner to do the same. There is a lot of stigma about this request, but Lauren Aikin-Smith, a therapist from Pittsburgh, gives advice on how to go about this type of conversation.
“I think a lot of times what I tell people is to approach it is in that caring kind of way,” she says. “[You could say], ‘I really like you, I would really like to hook up with you, I am really attracted to you, but, I would like for both of us to have as safe of an experience as possible.”
For homosexual women, going to health clinics might bring some apprehension due to reasons Ferguson shares.
“Because they have had prior experiences before, sexual trauma,” she says. “They have gone to providers that just assume they are [heterosexual], and felt like, ‘Well, this is not a place I belong.’”
But Ferguson says that better training of physicians can help make these patients feel more comfortable.
“And so I think as an OBGYN, as someone that teaches residents who will be physicians in training,” Ferguson says, “it is my job to make sure we make better doctors.”‘