There's been a lot of talk about STIs in the news lately, and unfortunately there's more. Studies from the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention have shown that syphilis rates have increased for the seventh year in a row. There are 3.7 cases of this STI per 100,000 people.
Why is this such bad news? Although syphilis is a bacterial STI that can be treated with antibiotics, having syphilis can increase a person's risk for contracting and passing HIV.
What's worse is that the FDA says that when it comes to protection, condoms seem less effective against syphilis. Why? Because this STI is transmitted through minor cuts or abrasions in your skin or mucous membranes. Having sex with someone who has syphilis is a common way to get it yourself, but it can also be passed on through oral sex or regular kissing (scary, I know).
Dear's Advice: I know this probably makes you never want to go on a date again, but it's not the end of the world. The best thing to do is get tested with your partner for all STIs before becoming intimate (even before making out). If your partner doesn't understand and won't do it, you might want to reconsider your relationship.