Nuggets of Knowledge

Each student in the group selects a small slip of paper containing one question and answer. A student reads the question to the group. The group responds and discusses. Then the student reads the correct answer to the group. This format facilitates participation of each group member and conveys information in a student-to-student format.

Question: Is it OK to use a hand cream or Vaseline Intensive Care lotion as a condom lubricant?

Answer: No! Use ONLY a water-based lubricant made for sex (KY jelly, Foreplay, or spermicidal gel). Vaseline Intensive Care lotion is petroleum based, and capable of destroying the integrity of a latex condom within 90 seconds. Mineral oil, baby oil and other creams and lotions (even lipstick) can do similar damage to latex.

Question: What should you do if a condom breaks?

Answer: Quickly insert an application of spermicidal foam into the vagina. It may or may not help to prevent pregnancy, because sperm move up into the cervix of the uterus very quickly. But it is better than doing nothing. Spermicidal products do not offer protection from STD's.

Question: What is the fastest growing STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) in the United States?

Answer: HPV (Human Papilloma Virus, genital warts, condyloma). Chlamydia is the most common STD, but HPV is increasing more rapidly. There are now 24 million cases of HPV with a higher prevalence among teens. 4 million cases of chlamydia occur annually, 10-30% of 15 to 19 year old are infected.

Question: You could get AIDS from your steady boyfriend/girlfriend even if you are faithful to each other. TRUE or FALSE?

Answer: Unless he or she is a virgin, your boyfriend/girlfriend could have contracted the disease from any of his previous sexual partner/s. There's also an outside chance that he/she got it from a contaminated needle. So keep in mind that every time you sleep with someone, you're sleeping with every sexual partner he or she has ever had.

Question: What do you mean by abstinence?

Answer: From a safety standpoint, abstinence means refraining from intercourse (vaginal, anal, and oral-genital).

Question: The cervical cancers associated with HPV infection kill more women than AIDS. TRUE or FALSE?

Answer: True. There are many STD's to be concerned about besides AIDS. Learn about them and make smart decisions about sex to protect yourself.

Question: "Natural condoms " made from lamb intestine do not protect you from the HIV virus. TRUE or FALSE?

Answer: TRUE. The pores of a natural condom can be large enough for the HIV virus to pass through the surface of the condom. Viruses cannot pass through a latex condom unless it is defective. According to the FDA standard, only 4 in 1000 condoms are allowed to leak. Any more than that and they recall the lot. Condoms break about 2% of the time due to manufacturing defects. The rest of the time, condom breakage is due to human error: using oil based lubricants, improper storage and heat damage, using condoms beyond the expiration date, etc.

Question: What is the failure rate for actual condom use?

Answer: There are two things to consider when looking at the effectiveness of condoms: product reliablility and user reliability. In practice, condoms have a 10 to 16% failure rate when used to prevent pregnancy. That mean that in human use, condoms have an 84 to 90% protection rate. Studies have shown that in actual usage, the failure rate of condoms in preventing HIV is similar. Some recent studies have shown that condoms are highly effective (up to 98%) when people used them correctly and consistently (every time you have sex). Condom failure is more attributed to human failure than to product defectiveness.

Question: If your roommate has genital herpes, can you can get it from using the same toilet seat?

Answer Your chances of getting herpes from a toilet seat are about as likely as winning the state lottery. First, the person with herpes would have to sit off-center on the toilet seat so that the sores are touching the seat. Then, right afterward, you would have to place your genitals on the same toilet seat in the same position. Very unlikely.

Question: What do these men have in common? Isaac Newton, William Pitt, Martin Luther, Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Hitchcock, Henry David Thoreau, and George Bernard Shaw

Answer: They all practiced abstinence for all or part of their lives.

Question: How does HIV differ from other STD's?

Answer: HIV is fatal. The length of time between becoming HIV-infected and being diagnosed with AIDS can be as long as 10 years.

Question: How is HIV transmitted?

Answer: Through anal, vaginal, or oral intercourse. Also, by sharing infected needles as in IV drug abuse, or by having sex with someone who has aquired HIV through sharing needles.

Written by Lydia P. Smith, M.A., and Carol J. Mulvihill, R.N.,C., for Student Health Services, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Bradford, PA 16701. Latest revision: March 1995. Information resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "The New Celibacy" by G. Brown, and a variety of internet health information resources.

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce these non-copyrighted pages for non-commercial use provided the authors and source are credited.

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