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Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Health

7. Can a hysterectomy cause sexual problems for a woman?

Some women may experience changes in sexual function after a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). These changes may comprise a loss of desire, decreased vaginal lubrication, and genital sensation. Furthermore, surgery can damage nerves and blood vessels considered critical to a woman's sexual functioning.

 

8. Can a person with syphilis spread the disease?

Yes. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease. A person with syphilis can spread the infection during the first two stages of the disease. If you come in contact with an open sore (first stage) or skin rash (second stage), you can pick up the bacteria that cause the infection. If the bacteria enter your body through an opening such as the penis, anus, vagina, mouth, or broken skin, you can get syphilis.

If a person has had syphilis for more than two years, it's unlikely that he or she can spread the disease. Don't take a chance. Use a lubricated condom during sex.

9. How do people get HIV?

A person gets HIV when an infected person's body fluids (blood, semen, fluids from the vagina, or breast milk) enter his or her bloodstream. The virus can enter the blood through linings in the mouth, anus, or sex organs (the penis and vagina), or through broken skin.

Both men and women can spread HIV. A person with HIV can feel okay and still transmit the virus to others. Pregnant women with HIV also can pass the virus to their babies.

Common ways people get HIV:

  • Sharing a needle to take drugs
  • Having unprotected sex with an infected person

You cannot get HIV from:

  • Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS
  • Public bathrooms or swimming pools
  • Sharing cups, utensils, or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS
  • Bug bites

10. Is it OK to use Vaseline as a lubricant with a latex condom?

No. Use only water-based lubricants, such as K-Y Jelly, with condoms. Oil-based lubricants, like Vaseline, can weaken the condom and cause it to break.

11. What should a woman do if she forgets her birth control pills?

If you forget to take a birth control pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until the next day, go ahead and take two pills that day. If you forget to take your pills for two days, take two pills the day you remember and two pills the next day. You will then be back on schedule. If you miss more than two pills, call your health care provider for instructions. Those instructions may be to take one pill daily until Sunday and then start a new pack or to discard the rest of the pill pack and start over with a new pack that same day.

Any time you forget to take a pill, you must use another form of birth control until you finish the pill pack. When you forget to take a birth control pill, you increase the chance of releasing an egg from your ovary. However, if you forget to take any of the last seven out of the 28 day pills, you will not raise your chance of pregnancy, because these pills contain only inactive ingredients. If you miss your period and have forgotten to take one or more pills, get a pregnancy test. If you miss two periods even though you have taken all your pills on schedule, you should get a pregnancy test.

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