Don’t have unprotected sex, or you will get chlamydia, and die
As we get ready for exams and look beyond at the good times to be had this winter break, many of you out there will be looking to take full advantage of the opportunities you get. For those of you looking for a new “resolution” for the new year, or just looking to have a little casual fun, I’d like to remind you to please—PLEASE—remember to use proper protection.
This goes for everyone of course, but today I want to talk to my fellow members of the LGBTQ community. While we are no longer in the age of the AIDS epidemic, there is still reason to be careful. Earlier this year, experts in the UK met to discuss the “crisis for gay men” represented by a massive increase in the rates of STIs.
In the U.S., men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer (which can be caused by HPV, the most common STI in the country) according to the CDC. In Canada, reported cases of chlamydia rose 72 per cent between 2001 and 2010 while reported cases of syphilis increased a whopping 456.7 per cent.
Experts warn us that the new generation of the LGBTQ community didn’t live through the AIDS epidemic of the ‘80s and that they expect a second wave of these diseases to hit men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a 2012 article in TIME.
Safe sex has been a very prominent part of queer culture (you can just pop in the Queer Concordia office to see all the resources available to prove it), especially because of the AIDS epidemic. The LGBTQ community has already been ravaged by HIV, AIDS, and STIs, and I know we don’t want to go through any of it again.
Why is it that despite the increasing resources and education on this topic, we’re heading in the wrong direction?
Some people say the education isn’t comprehensive enough, and I totally agree—sex education needs to be more inclusive to the LGBTQ community. However, I’ve heard from someone who has worked at an STD who says the most common cases that she sees are from individuals who were in a relationship where one partner had sex with someone else without informing the other and brought a STI into the relationship.
All this in mind, whether it’s a casual hookup or a long-term relationship, take the necessary precautions to protect yourselves. Let’s start this new year off with a bang.