Psychological Self-Help

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know they have it! Like with HIV, which may lay dormant for 10
years, many of the other STDs are also quiet and perhaps unknown for
a while but lead to serious problems later. For example, 85% of
women and 40% of men with Chlamydia have no symptoms. Likewise,
80% of women and 10% of men with Gonorrhea have no symptoms.
Many carriers of Herpes have no symptoms. CMV often has no
symptoms but causes permanent disabilities to babies. Testing could
catch many of these infections early. See your physician. 
If you observe a new infection or get positive results on a STD
test, who should you notify? Some experts say you should, if you test
positive, tell everyone you have had sex with during the last 60 days
or tell your last partner if it has been longer than 60 days. (Since so
many people do not have symptoms, I wonder if every previous
partner shouldn't be notified.) Who do people tell? A little over 90% of
adults (more women than men), who find out they have a STD, tell
their current partner, but only about 25% tell previous partners.
Actually 32% to 40% of teenagers do NOT even tell their current
partner when they find out they have a STD. It's a scary world. 
There are other risks: many people may be switching to oral sex
because they think it is safer than intercourse. It is true that oral sex
eliminates the risk of pregnancy and reduces the risk of HIV but you
still run many risks--herpes, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, HPV, and several
other sexual diseases. So, oral sex is not a good easy solution. By the
way, about 20% of young people believe that oral sex is not sex;
therefore, they could tell you "I've never had sex" but still pass on
STDs to you. From the standpoint of "sexual disease," oral sex really
IS sex! 
Another risk is very well known by everyone but often overlooked
at the critical moment. Alcohol and drugs reduce our self-control,
including sexual inhibitions (study released by Kaiser Family
Foundation, Feb 12, 2002). Between 25% and 35% of 15 to 24-year-
olds say substance use influenced their sexual behavior, mainly doing
more than they planned to do. Drug & alcohol-using teens are twice as
likely to have sex with four or more partners as non-using teens. One
in four young people say they have failed to have protected sex
because of drinking or drug use. Mixing alcohol and drugs with sex is
popular but keep in mind that a clear, well functioning brain is an
important part of good, smart sex. Don't get pushed by your own
unclear brain or by anyone else into something you don't want, like
pregnancy or a STD. 
There are serious misunderstandings about Herpes. That STD is
growing rapidly. It is estimated that almost 30% of Americans over 12
have genital Herpes (, Nov 27, 2001). Part of the problem
is that a person can have and pass on Herpes without having
significant symptoms. For some people, Herpes sores or outbreaks are
quite painful for a few days and then repeatedly reappear every week
or two for a life-time (especially when stressed). The people, who
carry the Herpes virus but do not have many or any genital outbreaks,
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