Sexual Health Series – Know your STI’s and HIV

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When it comes to sexual health, prevention is definitely the best strategy and the key to prevention is to know what to look out for.

Let’s start with getting to know the signs and symptoms of the STI’s/HIV.

Skin Based STI’s

As skin based STI’s are transmitted through skin to skin contact, condoms and dams are not going to offer much protection which is why it’s so important to know what to look out for so you can make the best decision on whether or not you will go through with the service.

Herpes

Herpes can infect anywhere on your body, I’ve seen herpes on backs, lips, genitals, anuses, eyes, foreheads. The most distinguishing feature of Herpes is that the puss is yellow, whereas a bacterial infection from an infected follicle will appear white. The herpes lesions are known to be wet, to be crusty. There is a common misconception that herpes is only contagious if you touch the lesion, however this is not true due to shedding. Herpes infects an entire nerve track, meaning wherever the lesion is, the entire area around it will be shedding the virus. This means if the lesion is on someone’s head, their entire head is contagious, if it’s on their back, their neck and upper back is contagious, if it’s on their genitals then that entire area is contagious. Simply covering the lesion with a condom or dam will not necessarily protect you.

For more information on Herpes please click on the link below.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/genital-herpes

Warts

The Human Papilloma virus causes warts, which is the virus that also causes cervical cancer. Warts can appear in a few different forms but they are most usually raised of the skin like cauliflower or a flat mushroom, they can appear as just one or be a cluster.

Your doctor can treat them usually with cryotherapy however you will be unable to work for weeks, usually a month.

Molluscum contagiosum (MC)

MC is a virus, which is most commonly seen in children, however it is a sexually transmitted infection amongst adults. MC lesions look a lot like shaving rash or ingrown hair, however they have a small nucleus, which is visible (it looks like a dark pin prick spot in the center of the lesion). I have had clients try to pass MC as ingrown hairs so it’s important to know that in an ingrown hair you will always be able to see the hair where as with MC, there will be no hair visible; there will also most probably be many of them, where as with ingrown hairs, it’s more common just to have an isolated one or two.

MC can go away on its own however in healthy adults you will have them for about a couple of months, if your immune system is compromised they can stay for years. But your doctor can treat it through freezing each one, however it will still take weeks and you will probably have 50 or so of them.

For more information on MC please click on the link below.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/molluscum-contagiosum

Other STI’s

Syphilis

Syphilis can be spread by both skin-to-skin contact, and via bodily fluids and it’s most contagious when the skin rash or lesion is present or unfortunately in the early latent stage which it has no signs or symptoms. Syphilis is 7 times more common amongst men, especially amongst men who sleep with men.

The signs to look out for are a rash on the palms or soles of feet, but it can also be present on the chest, back and lips. Sometimes ulcers can occur in the genital region or around the mouth. Syphilis rash spots appear to have a border either red or white; they can look like healing blisters. But unlike blisters there will be many as opposed to just one or two in a high friction area.

For more information on Syphilis please click on the link below.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/syphilis-causes-and-diagnosis

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea are the two most common STI’s that you will encounter, both of them can be asymptomatic and both are spread via bodily fluids. They are both highly contagious which means if you or they touch their genitals, which will probably have some pre-cum or discharge on it and then touch yours, it can spread. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to where the hands are going in your bookings.

Now absolutely not fool proof, sometimes both of these can cause a discharge so it’s important during your health check of your client to milk their penis to see what comes out. If the discharge has any odor, any colour other than a very milky pale white that could be a sign of infection.

Both these infections can infect the anus, urethra, the cervix and the throat.

For more information on these please click on the links below.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/chlamydia-symptoms

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gonorrhoea-the-clap

Hepatitis

Hepatitis comes in 3 main forms however there are actually five.

The signs for hepatitis to watch out for are jaundice like appearance, yellow eyes, and yellow skin.

Hepatitis A is passed through fecal matter, so by eating contaminated food or water or in your life as a sex worker by rimming without dams. There is a vaccination for Hepatitis A, but it’s very important to ensure that your client is well showered and clean prior to any anal play, also as it’s impossible to ensure that all fecal matter is removed from the colon, once any penetration is performed don’t switch back to rimming without thoroughly cleaning the area.

Hepatitis B is passed through bodily fluids and can be vaccinated against.

Hepatitis C is passed through blood-to-blood contact. However don’t think this is just by sharing needles, as the colon is so fragile it can easily have micro tears and microscopic blood particles, so any penetration (uncovered by condom or glove) from anus to another could transmit this.

For more information about Hepatitis please click on the link below.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hepatitis

HIV

There’s really no way to know if someone is HIV positive and whilst the treatment for HIV is really good these days it is incurable. Bodily fluid transfer spreads it however it is less contagious than Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. It is most commonly spread through unprotected intercourse. Which is why using condoms for all penetration, and making sure your client (once they have ejaculated) pulls out the penis with the condom intact and only removing the condom after they’re both outside is very important.

If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, get to a sexual health clinic a.s.a.p. They do have pep treatment which helps minimize your chances of contracting HIV however there is no guarantee.

For more information on HIV please click on the link below.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hiv-infection-and-aids-treatment-and-prevention

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