Many STIs can be quickly and effectively treated. If you do show any symptoms get them quickly checked out. If you think you have an STI it is important not to have sex until you have seen a doctor.
Getting a sexual health check-up between sexual partners - and then practicing only safe sex - will help protect you from HIV and STIs. Discuss with your doctor vaccination against hepatitis A and B.
There are very good reasons why sexually active people need to practise safe sex including the following. Worldwide HIV overwhelmingly affects heterosexuals, including amongst our closest neighbours in Asia. There have been some cases of HIV been transmitted from oral sex. In most of these cases the person had sores, wounds, gum disease, ulcers, cuts, herpes or infections in the mouth. Without those factors it isn't considered easy for HIV to enter the bloodstream via the mouth or throat.
Confusion still exists around oral sex and HIV because initially there was some uncertainty about the risk posed and early safe sex messages may have made it seem riskier than it actually was. While research has indicated HIV transmission can occur through oral sex, it is viewed as a rare occurrence. However, to reduce this small risk make sure your mouth and gums are in good condition before engaging in oral sex. Sign up to receive the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning. But 23 years since decriminalisation, how much has changed for sex workers and what does the future hold?
The Guardian spoke to six sex workers about their personal experiences and the diverse nature of the work they do. Chief executive of the Scarlet Alliance — the leading sex worker-run advocacy group. There is still a lot of confusion about the difference between legalisation and decriminalisation. Obviously, we are subject to criminal laws just like everybody else. Essentially, the many things around sex work — brothels, clients, etc — are made illegal to obstruct the work. It becomes subject to occupational healthy and safety laws, industrial rights legislation, council regulation and so on.
Many international agencies such as Amnesty International and the United Nations have joined us in recent years to call for the full decriminalisation of our work, our workplaces and our clients. Many conflate human trafficking with sex work. It comes from the preconception people have that sex work is inherently exploitative. Unfortunately, anti-trafficking policies have been used to persecute and criminalise migrant sex workers nationally and globally.
I have become known for my sex work and advocacy for clients with disability. Over more than 20 years, I have developed many methods and techniques to allow me to work within their physical capacity.
The only expectation is that the client needs to treat me with dignity and respect. I adapt my services to the needs of each individual. For instance, if a client had a stroke and the left side of their body is affected then I need to know that.
I can then sit on the other side and they can touch me with their right arm. Certain clients come to lose their virginity. Others want to learn about sexual positions and activities. I co-founded the charitable organisation Touching Base to build training programs for other sex workers and to connect them to people with disabilities. We focus on the barriers these two marginalised communities experience, as well as their concerns such as access, discrimination and legal issues.
The biggest challenge is often organising the appointment, especially if they rely on assistance from family, friends or support staff. Imagine asking your mum to arrange a visit to a sex worker. They trust that we can provide a safe space. I work — mainly — with a community of women and I love the support that comes from that.
I find it life-affirming. I define myself as a feminist. But I have a fraught relationship with mainstream feminism. They silence sex workers by refusing to recognise our work and autonomy. And, in doing so, have committed a great act of violence against us. When we talk about violence against women, we need to talk about violence against sex workers. Instead of having to constantly prove our humanity or justify our profession we should be consulted and included in wider discussions about our work, sexual harassment and feminism.
I used to work for an investment bank. I felt my life slipping away working 14 hours day for a company to pocket the profits. I was looking for a change so I quit. I was doing a bit of personal training and started doing sex work on the side, and then porn..