Share Affection, Not Infection

Hey, it’s love season! It’s Valentine’s Day; a day set outside for individuals around the world 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. When you consider the origin of Valentine’s Day, it is safe to say that the celebration of love isn’t restricted to those with whom we have romantic feelings alone, but 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 or salesperson; could express how much you care or love your partner in writing or exchange gifts. These are a few ways you could mark the day and make the most of the love season.

Yes, it’s also a day when couples intend to express love in its entirety, including intimacy. 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 around today and the unsolicited pressure from social media lovers. This tension often creates a pseudo-FOMO (fear of missing out) among the majority. And as such fuel the already peaked 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 from actions taken. You need to apply the following tips for a fun-filled and memorable lovers’ day.

Get Tested

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 it’s been a long you had any of these tests done, then you may just need to update your to-do list this love season.

Apart from the elephant (HIV) in the room, there are numerous preventable sexually transmitted infections that 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. Syphilis is sometimes referred to as the “great imitator” as it can present with symptoms similar to other medical conditions, depending on the stage of infection. And the various stages include;

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 presenting 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 which 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 known as 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.

Practice Safe Sex

Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can be prevented, to a larger extent, with the use of condoms, when used consistently and appropriately. Although, it cannot completely prevent the transmission of certain STIs like, syphilis and herpes simplex virus, especially around areas not fully covered by a latex condom. That’s why the best bet is getting tested and knowing your status. However, if you’re unsure, use a condom. Furthermore, you’d also be preventing the possibility of unwanted pregnancy.

Remember, there is more than one way to express love and care. You can simply be the reason behind the smile of another, today. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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