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The Blue & Gray Press | May 25, 2018

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Watch What You Wish For this Holiday Season

By CLAIRE PICKARD

Looking for the perfect gift for that special someone?

Nothing is better than something you’ve made yourself. Unless, of course, this year’s present is a crippling case of the clap. Sexually transmitted infections may be free, easy to come by and relatively permanent, but do your partner and your sex life a favor and make this the year you stay stingy.

I’m sure that none of you need to be told that the only way to prevent STDs is a condom or dental dam. Other family planning devices are effective as a means of preventing pregnancy but are significantly less effective when it comes to stopping the spread of ol’ bumpy.

Your girlfriend’s birth control pills aren’t as chock-full of anti-virals as you’re probably hoping, and by the time your bacteria-ridden ejaculate comes anywhere close to an intrauterine device, the situation is already hopeless.

Pulling out doesn’t work for much of anything, but it’s funny to watch people try. Even if you’re in there for less than a minute—in which case, you have other problems to deal with—you still run a significant risk of coming into contact with diseased tissue.

Most STDs can be spread even when the person isn’t experiencing an outbreak, so “scope before you grope” shouldn’t be your go-to strategy. That being said, it probably can’t hurt.

If you want a detailed description of how to identify various infections, I would look to the Internet. The Mayo Clinic has good resources on STDs. In any case, if you see any signs of milky white discharge, inflamed areas or pustules of any color, it would be a safe bet to say that you should move along. Sometimes, you’re just better off not knowing the details.

Even condoms aren’t entirely effective. The majority of people in college with an STD show no symptoms, so the only way to know you’re clean is to get tested. If you’re sexually active, you should get tested for STDs every couple months. It’s painless, relatively simple and it will prevent you from earning a position as campus’ own Typhoid Mary.

If you have a regular partner and you’ve decided to use a birth control method other than condoms—or you’re dying for the loving embrace of a small child—make sure that you both get tested. Even if you’ve been in a committed relationship for several years, STDs can stick around unnoticed for decades.

An STD is the gift that truly keeps on giving. And giving. And giving you intense amounts of burning pain with urination. And giving you sterility. Any of which could effectively ruin your winter break plans. So, if there’s one thing that you take care wrapping this month, let it be the part that brings you the most holiday cheer.