GirlGI | Girl Gone International Issue 6 - Page 56

PREVENTION VACCINATIONS Condoms are the only form of contraception that can protect you from STIs. Bring latex condoms from your own country with you and keep one in your purse. Don’t trust the country to have quality brands available nor the boy to have one with him. Use condoms for vaginal, anal and oral sex and on sex toys. Dental dams for oral sex should be used for casual lesbian sex – STIs have no sexual preference. Before you move to or travel in a high risk area, get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B. Ask your medical practitioner about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine too. According to the World Health Organization’s 2013 report on women’s health, ‘Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide, with all cases linked to a sexually transmitted genital infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).’ SYMPTOMS Vaginas are fairly self sufficient – producing secretions to regulate and cleanse itself but, if you notice a change, pain, smells, lumps or anything out of the ordinary, see a doctor. Many STIs have no symptoms for women and while condoms are your best bed buddy, no method is 100% effective. Regular sexual health screening is important.