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Most of us have had sex with more than one person, right? But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, and determine our risk of getting an STD. That is, if we don’t already have one. Actually, there are only eight common STDs. But it can be calculated what one’s chances are with the number of partners one might have. Crazy as it sounds; the Heritage House actually calculated with 16 sexual partners, one could have 65,535 possible exposures to any one of at least eight STDs. Insanity, right?

It turns out in this calculation one had to make a few assumptions, the main one being each of your partners only had as many partners as you have. That sounds reasonable. The calculation was limited to only 16 partners in your lifetime. Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Information from CDC

The sexual exposure chart actually listed 15 exposures to STDs with 4 partners, 255 exposures with 8 partners, and 65,535 exposures with 16. They had used an accurate equation resulting in the number of exposures one would have, depending on the number of sexual partners. That equation was E = 2{to the “n” power} – 1, where “n” equals your number of your sexual partners, and “E” equals your number of exposures. The actual documentation is here.

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Partners   1    2    3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12    13      14       15       16   16

Exposure 1    3    7   15   31   63  127  255 511 1023 2047 4095 8195 16383 32767 65535

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Knowing the number of partners you’ve had, gives your exact number of exposures. Per C. Everett Koop, M.D. (former Surgeon General), “When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last 10 years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last 10 years.”

The most common STDs referred to are: 1) chlamydia, 2) gonorrhea, 3) syphilis, 4) HIV/AIDS, 5) genital herpes, 6) HPV, 7) trichomoniasis, and 8) PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease).

But if you read information on the CDC [ website closely, you learn with #1 (trichomoniasis), there are almost 2.8 million new cases annually, and by age 30, 50% of sexually active women have it.

With gonnorhea, 80% are not aware in the early stages that they are infected. With #3, 50% are not aware they are infected. With #4, since 1981, there have been more than 1.1 million cases, with over 540,000 deaths in the US alone. With #5, 25% of women and 20% of men have this today. With HPV, 10 different strains exist, with 75% of the reproductive population infected. With #7, there are 7.4 million new cases annually. With PID, 100,000 women/yr become infertile, and 150 of those will die.

All numbers are incorrect if one is taking antibiotics on a regular basis. But who exactly does that? One can say condoms can possibly reduce the risk of all these STDs if they’re used consistently and correctly. Very few do this as well. Slippage rates, breakage, and non-use plague condom users. It’s also known that any reduction of the above chances only applies to vaginal sex. There is little protection with condoms used for anal or oral sex.

But increased usages in a number of African countries have shown “a consistent association between greater availability and use of condoms and higher HIV infection rates,” per Dr Edward C. Green/ Demographic Health Surveys. People just take more risks because they feel safer with condoms.

Having only one sexual partner (preferably wife or husband) essentially eliminates the risk of STD infection, which is unbelievably high even with a few partners. It almost seems as if Someone has shown us the right course, but many have still wavered.

Just dieing from any injury is recorded as 1 in 1820 for your chances [. With the numbers cited above, the chance you could get a fatal or non-fatal STD seem significantly higher. But for many, it’s better to be a daredevil with multiple sex partners.

Go figure…

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Kevin Roeten can be reached at roetenks@charter.net