In her books, The Garden of Fertility (2004) and Honoring Our Cycles (2006), Katie Singerintroduces Fertility Awareness (also called Natural Family Planning).With these methods, a woman who charts her temperature and cervical mucus can know when she is fertile and infertile. A woman who charts her fertility signs can also know whether she is ovulating or miscarrying. You can learn remedies for problems like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and fertility.
R E P R O D U C T I V E A N A T O M Y
When a woman is fertile, she's more susceptible to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), because slippery mucus and an open cervix can both encourage semen to enter the uterus. Including the possibility of STIs in your awareness is part of using Fertility Awareness responsibly.
Most forms of contraception, including Fertility Awareness, offer no protection from STIs. Before you have genital contact with anyone, each of you should get tested for sexually transmitted infections. County clinics often provide tests for free. The incubation of HIV can take six months for it to show up in a test. Once you and your partner have abstained from genital-genital contact or have been monogamous for six months, then a test for HIV will be accurate. Test results for HIV typically take two weeks, though a new test, costing about $150, can give results in about 20 minutes. Other STIs can accurately be tested immediately. If you have multiple partners, you should be tested every six months.
If you have sex with someone who has not been tested for sexually transmitted infections, only male or female latex or polyurethane condoms can provide protection. Please be aware that men and women can be allergic to latex. Skin reactions may be immediate, or slow in developing. Try polyurethane condoms. Lambskin condoms can prevent pregnancy, not STIs.
THE SIZE OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS
To get a sense of the size of an STI, consider that the true size of a woman's mature egg is about the dot of a pen. If you magnify that egg so that it's the size of a nickel, and put a dot inside that nickel, then you can begin to see the size of one sperm in relation to the size of one egg. The larger sperm shown here has been magnified about 1250 times!
In this drawing, one cell each of the sexually transmitted infections syphilis, gonnorhea, chlamydia, herpes, HPV and HIV has been magnified as many times as the larger sperm shown here. This is why lambskin condoms (which are slightly porous) can effectively prevent pregnancy, but not STIs.
SYMPTOMS & TREATMENTS FOR SOME SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HOW TO USE A CONDOM
Studies show that professional sex workers rarely experience condom breakage, because they know how to use them. To increase the effectiveness of condoms:
American Social Health Association (ASHA), PO Box 13827, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; 919.361.8400;http: www.ashastd.org/. This organization operates hot lines and publishes numerous materials. Several of their publications, including Questions and Answers about Chlamydia, PID, Herpes (etc.) are available for free. Their National Herpes Hotline operates Monday through Friday, 9am to 7pm, EST, at no charge. 919.361.8488.
Bell, Ruth, et al, Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships, revised edition, Vintage, 1998. Our Bodies, Ourselves for teenagers.
The Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century, Simon and Schuster, 1998. This book is a bible for women wanting clear information and personal experiences for a wide range of topics. In the section on STIs, descriptions of women's and men's symptoms numerous infections are given, along with straightforward information about how tests and diagnoses are made, and what treatments (including alternatives) are available. A Spanish edition, Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestros Vidas was issued in 2000 by Seven Stories Press. www.ourbodiesourselves.org
Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers, A New View of a Woman's Body, Feminist Health Press, 1995. Includes clear information and drawings about common infections. Order from Feminist Health Press, 8240 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. www.womenshealthspecialists.org.
www.plannedparenthood.org Your local office is listed in the white and yellow pages of your phone book.
Project Inform, 205 13th Street, Suite 2001, San Francisco, CA 94103-2461; hotline 800-822-7422; admin 415-558-8669. http://www.projinf.org A nationwide referral organization for HIV/AIDS treatment.
Katie Singer, P.O. Box 6574, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
Copyright © 2002-2007 Katie Singer · All rights reserved