Share Affection, Not Infection

A softly lit living room with a crackling fireplace, a comfortable couch adorned with cozy blankets, and a steaming cup of tea resting on a side table. The scene invites readers to settle in and feel at ease. It spells affection

Hey, it’s love season! Individuals around the world set aside Valentine’s Day to express love in all of its forms. Whether you’re single, married, entangled, separated, or divorced, I bet there’s someone with whom you desire to express love and show affection.

We can confidently state that Valentine’s Day isn’t just a celebration of love and affection for the people we have romantic affections for. This is because of the holiday’s origins. It also to families and friends. That’s why there is no ironclad rule on how you should celebrate or extend love and care. Perhaps, you could get a gift card for a colleague; give extra tip to a random waiter; get a sizable T-shirt for your favorite customer. It could be expressing how much you care or love your partner in writing or exchange gifts.

Yes, it’s also a day when couples intend to express love in its entirety, including intimacy, read about “Sex, pleasure and what’s in-between” here. Not to mention the singles who are ready to mingle, after all, it’s a day to “show love”. The desire to be with someone is often heightened because of the overwhelming awareness and affection around today. Plus, the unsolicited pressure from social media lovers. This tension often creates a pseudo-FOMO (fear of missing out). The desire to belong and fit in, leading many to make illogical decisions with corresponding adverse effects.

There are also a few ways you can make the most of Valentine’s Day without having to look back in regret.

One of the best gifts you could give your partner this season is to initiate a visit to a diagnostic center for a test. Yes, it could be that simple! As a matter of fact, it is medically recommended for both partners to get tested at the same time to rule out possible re-infection or doubts on test outcomes. When was the last time you ran a test? Do you know your HIV status? What about the VDRL (venereal disease research laboratory) test? Can you completely vouch for your partner? If you’re not sure of the above questions or haven’t had any of these tests done in a long time, then updating your to-do list this love season may be necessary.

Apart from HIV, numerous preventable sexually transmitted infections could pose a great threat to your well-being and the dynamics of your present relationship. For instance, syphilis, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, is caused by a bacteria known as treponema pallidum. Contrary to popular belief, syphilis can be deadly if left untreated. However, it is completely treatable with the right antibiotic. Sometimes people refer to syphilis as the “great imitator.” It can present with symptoms similar to other medical conditions, depending on the stage of infection.

Primary stage – This is the first stage that comprises the presence of a painless sore known as a chancre. This chancre is present at the site where the bacteria entered the body. And the sore could last anywhere from 3-6 weeks, heals without treatment, and may leave a thin scar. However, this doesn’t mean the syphilis is gone. The person at this stage is highly contagious and can still pass the infection.

Secondary stage – This stage may include a rash that erupts within 2-8 weeks over the body, palms, and soles of the feet after the chancre develops and sometimes before it heals. Other symptoms include high fever, sore throat, weight loss, and patchy hair loss, especially the eyebrows and scalp hair. The skin rash will heal without any scar, but syphilis will be present, and the person can still pass the infection to others.

Latent (hidden) stage: If left untreated, an infected person will progress to this stage with no visible signs or symptoms. This stage can last for a year or anywhere from 5-20 years.

Tertiary (late) stage – This is the most deadly and destructive stage. It includes various complications like large, soft, tumor-like growth of tissues inside the body or on the skin known as gummata; neurosyphilis. This affects the nervous system causing mental problems, and cardiovascular syphilis which affects the heart and blood vessels.

Hey, I’m not trying to get you scared. The objective of this blog post is to enlighten you on the dangers of being unsure of your health status, including STIs. Meanwhile, you could know whether you have syphilis or not by running a simple blood test. This test is called VDRL (venereal disease research laboratory). Therefore, as you plan to have a swell time with your partner this season, ensure you know your health status.

Condoms can help prevent most sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, to a greater extent when worn regularly and correctly. Although, it cannot completely prevent the transmission of certain STIs like syphilis and herpes simplex virus. Getting tested and knowing your status is the best bet. However, if you’re unsure, use a condom. If you have questions about your sexual health, speak to a doctor via telemedicine; don’t worry, it’s hush hush…

Remember, there is more than one way to express love, affection, and care. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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