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‘Faithfulness’ and sexually transmitted diseases

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Some time ago, I did an article on chlamydia that generated a few questions and comments. One lady asked: “Doc, can women over 40 get chlamydia?” The answer is an emphatic “yes”. All women of all ages can get chlamydia, but for the issue of infertility, various health organizations, including the World Health Organization, advise that only sexually active women 25 and under are tested routinely as this is the age group in which chlamydia causes most infertility problems, as this is the age group that is most sexually active and promiscuous. Besides, most chlamydial infections are asymptomatic, hence the propensity for infertility is high in this sexually active group.{{more}}

Another reader made a comment and then questioned whether she can still get chlamydia if she and her partner are faithful and use condoms every time they made love. The answer is no. You should not get chlamydia. But my question to her was “Why would you want to use condoms with someone whom you know well and trust unless you did not trust the person or did not know them well?” She said that she was worried about diseases that he might have brought into the relationship from a previous relationship, even though she said that she had tested him before. So, I suspect this reader will be using condoms until she is ready to have children, or until she gets married, at which time, I suspect, she thinks her faithful boyfriend will become a faithful “husband.”

Apparently “faithful” partners transmit most cases of chlamydia. Usually, these partners have just met and brought it with them, being unaware of it, because most cases are not symptomatic. Sometimes one of these “faithful” partners strays without condoms and catches it from the third party. I see women in my office every day and counsel them about their relationships and men. These women usually say “Doc, if he cheats, I will kill him”. They are more worried about the social embarrassment of a cheating spouse and forget the health issues, since sex is now a life and death issue. Instead of spending time threatening their boyfriend about cheating, women need to spend time building “cheat-proof” relationships and telling them “if they cheat, then use a condom”.
 
The fact of the matter is both men and women cheat, almost in equal proportions. All the most recent surveys on male-female sexuality give similar rates of cheating for men and women. So, for women to threaten their boyfriend is rather ironic, as they are just as likely to cheat. I hear a lot of women saying “Doc, that’s encouraging my boyfriend or husband to cheat”. My answer to that is: “Your boyfriend or husband does not need your permission to stray. If he did, it would not be cheating, it would be sharing or sampling with your consent”. Men will cheat whether you like it or not.
So will women.
 
They do it because they are uncomfortable with their relationship or for their own personal reasons. They hide because they realize the implications of being caught or they do not want to hurt their partners. Hiding is usually associated with risk taking, hence risky behaviour like not using condoms. This is usually because it is done impulsively, and even though there might have been forethought, the excitement associated with the moment usually means no condoms are used. Even if they are used initially, repeated contact and familiarity means that condoms will eventually be abandoned.

For comments or question contact:

Dr Rohan Deshong

Tel: (784) 456-2785

email: deshong@vincysurf.com

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