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    Sex degrees of separation

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      Virus spreading family tree

      Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise, and did you know many of these infections are symptomless? We’re raising awareness about STIs by showing you the exponential effect of sexual contact. 

      Sex degrees calculator theory

      Our Sex Degrees calculator theory is based on the idea of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’. This is a sociological idea that we’re all connected to each other by only six connections.  

      If you think about your connections: 

      1. The number of sexual partners you’ve had 
      2. The number of partners your partners might have had prior to them sleeping with you 
      3. The number of partners your partners’ partners might have had  
      4. And so on for 6 degrees of separation 

      That’s potentially a whole lot of people you’ve been indirectly exposed to sexually… 

      This calculation theory just highlights how exposed you can be to STIs, and how this risk increases with each new partner. It’s not just your direct partners that you have to worry about, but your partners’ partners, and their partners’ partners, and so on. Do you know all of their sexual histories? We didn’t think so! 

      Obviously if you’re not sexually active or have only one sexual partner who hasn’t had sex with anyone else, you will most likely avoid STIs. But it’s always good to have an honest and open conversation about sex and your sexual history when you start a relationship. Just to make sure you’re both on the same page, and neither one of you is putting the other at risk. 

      Wrap it up 

      Remember using condoms, is one of the best ways to protect against STIs. But don’t forget that if you use condoms you are still exposed to several types of STI such as genital warts and herpes. These can be transferred through skin-to-skin contact, oral sex, and even sex toys.

      Stay safe

      So, the key message is to practice safe sex, but also to get regularly tested for STIs. If you’re concerned about your sexual health, you can either talk to your local GP, GUM clinic, or you can order a discreet test through our service.

      Our STI testing & treatment service

      If you’re worried about your connections or STIs we have a range of STI tests you can take from the comfort of your home. Home testing is a convenient way to get the peace of mind you need about your sexual health, without the need for a face-to-face appointment.  

      You can order a test online and don’t worry, they’re sent out in plain unbranded package to your chosen address. 

      If you test positive for chlamydia or trichomonas, you’ll be offered free treatment. We can also offer advice, support and info about getting treatment if you test positive for any of the other STIs we look for. 

      Our STI test clinic provides treatment for: 

      Find out more about STI testing and STI treatments.  

      VideoGP by LloydsPharmacy

      Authors and Editors

      • Reviewed and updated by

        Dr Sameer Sanghvi
        GMC number: 7085078
        Date published: 11th Feb 2021

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