Cheating and/or admitting to having an affair is never an easy subject to discuss with anyone. It often involves a lot of hurt, shame, anger or embarrassment regardless if you are the cheater or cheated upon person.
Unfortunately, many men and women become so wrapped up in the emotions of the incident(s) that they forget about their own sexual health and the sexual health of their partners.
Wearing condoms does not guarantee protection against all STIs, specifically herpes and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Only the correct use of condoms will protect against gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis C and trichomoniasis. Ask your health care provider for testing today.
Herpes and HPV only require contact or touching of skin cells. This means only skin-to-skin contact needs to occur and not necessarily the act of vaginal sexual intercourse. HPV in particular can also be spread to the anal area during anal play and the throat and mouth during oral sex, risking anal or oropharyngeal cancers and problems.
A herpes outbreak typically includes painful fluid-filled blister bumps in the area, whereas HPV can show up in the form of warts or abnormal cells on a Pap test or biopsy which increases the risk for vulvar, vaginal and cervical cancer.
Neither herpes nor HPV are curable, however they may go into remission. Herpes can be suppressed with anti-viral medication.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis are treated with antibiotics, however they must be tested for first. Left untreated these STIs can lead to worse infections in both the male and female reproductive tract and perhaps infertility in females, especially with chlamydia as it damages the fallopian tubes.
These infections do require sexual intercourse or fluid exchange in order to pass from one person to the next, and unfortunately are often passed quite easily.
Some people do not have any symptoms (no pain or discharge) therefore they assume they are all clear and free of any infection. Do not assume. Get tested.
HIV and hepatitis C are viruses that are passed through fluid exchange. These two infections do not show up on Pap or STI vaginal or urethral (male) testing and do require a blood draw.
Neither HIV nor hepatitis C are very symptomatic until a later stage in the disease process, which is why many asymptomatic people opt not to test or believe they are “safe.” Unfortunately, there is no cure for either of these viruses although there are suppressive medications that can help.
As fluid exchange is necessary for many STIs, correct condom use is imperative. Abstinence or long term monogamous relationships are best in this regard, but this article is about cheating.
If the condom breaks or comes off in the midst of sexual activity then transmission is possible.
For those who are allergic or sensitive to latex, polyurethane or other synthetic material condoms provide protection against STDs/HIV and pregnancy equal to that of latex condoms. However, they have higher breakage and slippage rates and are more costly.
Keep in mind that lambskin condoms are more porous than latex or alternate material condoms, therefore they do not offer the same protection. Use at your own risk -- and the risk of your other partners.
Please talk with your health care provider (any health care provider if you do not want to talk to your personal primary care) and get appropriate testing today. This is important.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Genital Herpes. Retrieved om March 29, 2014 from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Retrieved on March 29, 2014 from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Sexually Transmitted Infections. Retrieved on March 29, 2014 from
Reviewed April 2, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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