Same-Sex Relationships and STDs
Same-sex relationships, or any relationship on the LGBTQI spectrum, can carry an STD risk just like heterosexual relationships can. However, there are certain sexual activities and factors in same-sex relationships that can increase the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Here's what you need to know.
Risk Factors for STDs for Men
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at a higher risk of transmitting or contracting STDs, especially if they have engaged in unprotected receptive or insertive anal sex. Use condoms with your partners, and avoid having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You should also consider getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, or getting a booster dose if you've already been vaccinated before.
Risk Factors for STDs for Lesbian and Bisexual Women
A common myth is that lesbian sex does not carry the risk of contracting an STD - this is simply not true. Just like male same-sex relationships, lesbian and bisexual women can still be at risk for contracting diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, and HPV - and a study from the American Journal of Public Health has shown that self-reported STI rates are higher in these groups than in heterosexual women. Barrier methods, such as dental dams and condoms for any toys, are highly recommended.
When to Get Tested
The CDC recommends that men who have sex with men should be tested for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Hepatitis B at least once a year. Your primary care provider or sexual healthcare provider may also recommend testing for Hepatitis C, depending on risk factors. Lesbian and bisexual women, as well as transgender and non-binary people should be tested for these diseases once a year if they are sexually active.
Protect Your Health - Schedule an STD Screening
In addition to practicing safer sex with your partner or partners, one of the best things you can do to protect your health is to arrange for regular STD screenings. It doesn't matter how you identify on the LGBTQI spectrum - sexually transmitted diseases are a risk for anyone who chooses to have sex. Contact us today to talk about our services and to book an appointment for an STI screening.