April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to examine what role your personal lubricant plays in minimizing the risk of acquiring or spreading an STD.
Condoms are the most common, well-known, and effective way of protecting yourself against sexually transmitted diseases. However, there are a few things that must be taken in to consideration:
- Condoms can break. Using a personal lubricant with a condom significantly reduces any friction between the condom and skin, making it less likely that the condom will break. Putting a small drop of lubricant both inside and outside of the condom will make the sex feel better and wetter, but more importantly, it will make the sex safer. Always wear a condom and always use a condom-compatible lubricant.
- Osmolality Matters. Osmolality is a measure of the number of concentrated dissolved particles (salt and sugars) found inside a cell, relative to the outside. The higher the osmolality, the higher the risk of damaging cells around the areas it’s applied. Using a lubricant high in osmolality increases your risk of tearing or damaging tissue in the vaginal and anal regions, thus increasing your risk of contracting a disease. Fortunately, a 2010 Microbicides Building Bridges in HIV Prevention Report stated that Wet® Platinum® Premium Lubricant was one of the two safest lubricants it tested, because of its low osmolality, neutral pH and viscosity. “The hyperosmolar nature of the other lubricants,” the report said, “was associated with cellular toxicity and may lead to increased risk of HIV infection.” Not only is Wet® Platinum® a great condom compatible lubricant, it’s a safer choice.
- Know Your Diseases. Knowledge is power. Not all STD’s can be prevented by using a condom. The eight most common STD’s are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, Herpes Simplex Virus 2, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Syphilis and Trichomoniasis. Of those eight, HPV and Herpes can both be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, which means a condom won’t help. For Hepatitis B, there is a vaccine available to prevent infection, which is far more effective than a condom would be. Knowing how sexually transmitted diseases present themselves, are passed on and how to prevent and treat them are all the first steps in maintaining good health, and raising awareness not only for yourself, but also for your partner(s).
For more information on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: CDC Facts about Sexually Transmitted Diseases.