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The Truth About HPV and Condoms

If you turn on the news there is always a reporter telling you some horribly scary fact about sex. But recently, there was good news on the tube. A major finding about condom use and HPV (human papilloma virus) was released by the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the study, “among newly sexually active women, consistent condom use by their partners appears to reduce the risk of cervical and vulvo-vaginal HPV infection.” This is huge! And it’s justifies what many of us have known for years: If you choose to have sex, condoms are your best option for STD prevention.

To all you cynics, I certainly understand that condoms do not eliminate the risk of HPV entirely, but keep in mind that nothing does. Abstinence is rarely used perfectly. (Though yes, if it is perfectly "practiced", it is 100% effective). However, people decide not to be abstinent anymore - and sometimes it's not a conscious decision - it's a heat of the moment choice. And if that weren't enough, some people’s definitions of abstinence are ineffective from the start. Some people claim that they are abstinence because they are “refraining from sexual intercourse”. If you say that you are abstinent but still have oral or anal sex, is that really safe? Now I am not saying that abstinence is a poor choice. For some people, abstinence is the best decision. But if you ever decide to become sexually active, it is important to learn the facts – all of them. And while the findings of the NEJM study are exciting, you should still be smart – be tested and make sure that you and your partners are honest about your sexual health status…because if you can’t communicate with a partner, you probably shouldn’t be having sex with him/her.

We should use this new information to our advantage. Now, more than ever, we have a reason to demand condoms – every time we have sex – not just when we remember or feel like asking. This finding adds to the research that supports the effectiveness of condoms as protection against HIV, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and herpes. So if you are going to be sexually active, condoms are the absolute best protection we have!

Not that you were ever afraid to talk about sex, but now is the prefect time to start doing something proactive – tell your friends about the benefits of condoms, buy them, and carry them! Women are perfectly capable of taking care of their own sexual health. Why should we wait for him to whip one out? If we are as responsible and self-sufficient as we have been claiming for all these years, having a condom in our pocketbook should be a no-brainer.

It distresses me when I hear women admitting to infrequent condom use. What message does that send to both males and females? Does it tell men that we can be convinced or talked out of using them? Does it tell women that they shouldn’t worry? Unless you are ready to assume responsibility for whatever happens, it is irresponsible to have unsafe sex. Someone who respects themselves and their bodies is a far better sexual partner than someone who just doesn’t care. Ask yourself the following question: What is sexier? A woman who goes after what she wants or a woman who can be pressured into doing stupid things? SexySmart women know better! Sex is just too important to us – it should be a lifelong pleasure – not something we regret. So enough from me. What would YOU say to women who (willingly) don't protect themselves?

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