Ask Dr. Sex Edna: The Love Disease
By: Dr. Sex Edna, February 14, 2012
Ask Dr. Sex Edna - She isn't really a doctor. She is graduate student in public health who loves to give people sex advice. Whether one-on-one or in the classroom, Dr. Sex Edna has talked to teenagers, kids, parents, grandparents (maybe yours), teachers, nuns and priests about everything from condoms to shrimping. If she hasn't done it herself, she's heard of it, and will work diligently to answer all your burning questions.
Dear Edna, I’m in high school and I hear people talking about sex and “VD’s” a lot. What’s a VD?
-Confused and curious
VD stands for venereal disease and is a term from the 15th century used to describe diseases obtained from sex. Now, if you paid any attention in history class, the term “venereal” actually comes from the Goddess of Love herself, Venus.
Calling VD a “love disease” cutens up the stigma quite a bit, but as some people may know (either from experience or observation) there is nothing cute about odd colored fluids or insatiable itching in your pants. What you may also know is that you don’t necessarily have to be in love to get them. People meet, greet, smash it up and end up at the doctor popping some pills all the time—having thoughts I wouldn’t exactly call love.
There’s a big difference between Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in that one may be infected, but not necessarily show symptoms of the disease.
In a flashback episode of my life when I worked in a clinic for young people, we would routinely screen for gonorrhea and chlamydia. When there was a positive test result (taken care of with antibiotics and abstinence for at least 2 weeks), the majority of the time there were no symptoms and the patient was floored to find out that it had happened to them.
They didn’t feel “diseased” or even sick. It may have burned when they peed a few days before, then it went away. No big deal. STOP. STIs are a big deal. Get them treated right away.
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Just because there is no running sore, incessant itching or the Nickelodeon gak slime coming out in your urine stream doesn’t mean you’re STI free. If you are sexually active and between the ages of 15-25, the Center for Disease Control (yes, it’s the government, but for once I feel like they’re on to something) recommends getting tested at least once a year.
However, Dr. Sex Edna suggests getting tested whenever your relationship status changes to “single” or “it’s complicated.” That means if you or your partner steps out of the relationship, the condom breaks, or you just plain have multiple partners.
Actually knowing your STI status is better than saying, “I’m clean, I don’t have any signs or anything” and getting a phone call with pee test evidence that reveals you’re a liar.
Which brings me back to your question: Your classmates are using a very outdated term. Leave VD for the Valentines, then show them this column about STIs.