Posts Tagged ‘anonymous questions’

Ask anything: where to get free condoms!

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Q: Where can I get free condoms in Montreal?

A: You can get free condoms here at Head & Hands (5833 Sherbrooke St. Ouest) – see our website for our opening hours, or call our streetworkers who always have them on hand!  You can also get them at CLSCs (find your nearest CLSC here), at many schools/CEGEPs/universities (try the nurse’s office or health services, guidance counsellor or social worker), and at other community organizations or youth centres, like AIDS Community Care Montreal, Rezo, Dans la rue/Pops van, or Head & Hands’ teen drop-in centre, J2K. Concordia’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy and McGill’s Union for Gender Empowerment also stock condoms and other safer sex supplies.  Happy searching!

Ask anything: sex and sores

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We are getting more and more questions in our “Ask Anything” question box to the right! –> Stay tuned for more questions & answers coming up throughout the week!

Q: I have sores in mouth and have been having oral sex without a condom, only my partner has never done any sexually activities before and neither have I, whats up?

Thanks for your question! Unfortunately, it’s impossible for us to know exactly what the sores are without seeing you in person, but you would be welcome to come into our clinic if you’re in the Montreal area and between 12-25 years old. Our medical clinic happens on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and you just have to arrive between 4:45-5pm to get entered into the draw for that night’s clinic. You can view the clinic schedule and more information on the Head & Hands website. If you can’t come to our clinic, we can help you find a clinic that’s more convenient for you. One thing that’s important to remember is that the doctor will need to see the sores in order to help you figure out what’s going on, so make sure that you go to a clinic while the sores are present.

So although we can’t diagnose anyone over the internet, we can offer some information that may be useful to you. (more…)

Ask anything: Getting tested for HIV

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This week’s Ask Anything column is answered by Liam, a fantastic Sense animator who facilitates our workshops in schools! As I mentioned before, Sense now has a formspring account where you can ask us anything – any of your awkward, out-there or just plain practical questions about sex. You can ask your questions anonymously at any time in the box to the right –> and we’ll post the answers here on the blog!

Q: i see you guys are doing HIV testing, can you get tested even if you had unprotected sex a week ago, will it show up on the test?

Great question! The answer is a resounding no. A lot of STIs have what’s called a ‘window period’. A window period is the time where an STI is alive in your body, is totally contagious, but is still undetectable by a test. Chlamydia’s window period is 3 to 10 days, but HIV’s window period is 3 to 6 months. This means that if you’ve had sex and are worried about having contracted HIV, you have to wait 3 to 6 months to get accurate test results (in most cases, the test will be accurate after 3 months but to be sure, it’s important to get tested after 6 months as well). The window period is really important because it means that HIV can be transmitted for a full 6 months before you can even know whether or not it’s in your body. When a doctor tests for HIV, they are actually testing for the antibodies that your body will produce to fight HIV. Even during window periods, condoms are a very effective way to protect yourself and your partners from HIV.

Because HIV has the longest window period out of all the STIs, it’s a good idea to use it as a marker for how often you can effectively get tested for STIs. For a person who is sexually active and has either multiple partners or at least one partner who has multiple partners, think about getting tested every 6 months. For everybody else, think about getting tested 6 months after each new sexual partner.

Some people choose to get tested for HIV even if it’s earlier than the three months’ window period, because they want to reduce their immediate anxiety. This is okay, but you will just have to remember that the test reflects where your health was at three months ago, and that you’ll need to get re-tested for a truly accurate result. You can always get tested for HIV at the Head & Hands medical clinic on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, or watch the website for news of upcoming special HIV testing clinics, like the one coming up on March 31st.

Hope this helps!

Ask anything: Safer oral + anal sex

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This week’s Ask Anything column is answered by Liam, a fantastic Sense animator who facilitates our workshops in schools! As I mentioned before, Sense now has a formspring account where you can ask us anything – any of your awkward, out-there or just plain practical questions about sex. You can ask your questions anonymously at any time in the box to the right –> and we’ll post the answers here on the blog!

Q: is anal and oral sex safe without condoms?

The short answer is no, but, it’s always more complicated than that. For instance, oral and anal sex with condoms isn’t completely safe either. For instance, herpes, HPV (genital warts), and parasitic STIs (crabs, lice, and trichomoniasis) can be passed on even if a condom is used properly because condoms can only protect the area that they cover and these STIs are located all over the genital area, not just on the shaft of a penis. Instead of safe vs. unsafe, it makes more sense to talk about ‘safer’ sex. Condoms are a very effective method to prevent the transmission of a lot of STIs, many of which can be passed on through anal and oral sex.

Using a condom for anal sex can be a bit tricky because anuses often have less lubrication than either mouths or vaginas. Be sure to use a water-based lube with a latex condom and to go as slowly as you need to. Be sure not to double-bag (wear 2 condoms at the same time) because they rub together and actually increase the risk of a condom mishap.

For oral sex, condoms or dental dams can prevent the transmission of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and Hepatitis A/B/C, and can help reduce the risk of HPV and herpes transmission. But remember that if open sores are present and they’re not covered by the condom or dental dam, infections can be transmitted from skin to skin contact.

The take-away lesson is that proper condom use and caution when there are open sores around will do a lot to keep you safer.

Hope this helps! Happy safer sex!

Ask anything: The hymen

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Welcome to the very first “Ask anything” column! As I mentioned last week, Sense now has a formspring account where you can ask us anything – any of your awkward, out-there or just plain practical questions about sex. You can ask your questions anonymously at any time in the box to the right –> or by visiting us on formspring!  We will post answers weekly on the blog. So… off we go with our first question!

 

Q: I have a research term paper with regards to picture of virgin vagina hymen.(colored) Where can I print this kind of pictures. Thank you so much.

A: Thanks for your question, and that’s quite the interesting research topic!  One of our blog contributors posted about the hymen and virginity awhile ago, and there are some pictures there, although they’re in black & white.

 

But wait – there’s more! The hymen itself is the subject of much debate. One thing that’s important to remember is that, contrary to popular belief, you can’t actually tell whether someone is a “virgin” by checking to see if their hymen is intact. First of all, the hymen is a very thin membrane that covers the opening of the vagina at birth. As a person grows, this membrane usually dissolves and what’s left is called the vaginal corona. The corona basically consists of thin folds of tissue around 1-2 cm inside the vagina. This can vary widely from person to person, and in some cases the hymen membrane does not dissolve completely, which can make things like inserting a tampon more difficult or painful. Penetrative sex can also be painful, not because it “breaks the hymen”, but because it can stretch and pull at these folds. One of the ways to make sex feel less painful and more pleasurable is to use lube, and make sure the person is aroused (through foreplay, touching, kissing, clitoral stimulation, etc.!) – and this applies every time, not just the first time!

 

Here are some other online resources that discuss this topic:

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/my_corona_the_anatomy_formerly_known_as_the_hymen_the_myths_that_surround_it

 

http://sexualityandu.ca//en/sexual-health/female_sexual_organs

Ask us anything! Sense has a formspring account!

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Great news! Sense now has a Formspring account, so you can ask us questions quickly and easily!

You can ask anything (anonymously!) in the little box over here —->

The answers will be posted on the blog, as well as on our Formspring page. We welcome anonymous questions about sex, sexual health, bodies, sexual/gender identity, safer sex… all of these, and more, in the box to the right! 

By the way, your anonymous questions will be answered by me (Nikki, hi!), the Health Animator here at Head & Hands, and our awesome Sense animators who facilitate workshops with youth across Montreal.

We’re so sexcited to hear from you!