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Protect Your Sexual Health

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Protect yourself—and your income

An STI not only affects your health, it can also mean lost money. It is important for workers to be aware of sexual health issues.

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of the major STIs and how to protect yourself and others.
  • Educate clients about testing and symptoms.
  • Do what you can to prevent becoming infected.
  • Have regular sexual health checks to detect any infections early. Remember: STIs are frequently asymptomatic (there are NO symptoms), so a check-up is the only way of knowing.
  • Check yourself in between your regular sexual health tests and go to a clinic if you detect any symptoms or notice signs of an infection.
  • Get treatment immediately for any infections.
  • Inform your sexual partners if necessary and do whatever you can to prevent infecting other people if you develop an infection.

Negotiation

It is important that you and your client clearly understand your boundaries and expectations of the service. You need to take control of the situation, tactfully, politely and yet firmly.

Before the service begins you and your client need to agree on what you are both going to do—including safe sex practices and condom use, the place and the price. Don’t be afraid to walk away from your clients if they break the agreement or argues about your terms. There is no need for you to do anything you feel uncomfortable with.

If you’re working for someone else, make sure safe sex practices in your working environment are supported by management and that condoms, dams and lube are always used. If you work in a brothel, make sure you choose one that has a “No condom, no sex” policy.

If your client refuses to believe unsafe sex is a very real threat, just show them the latest sexual health information and photographs—available from SWOP or your local sexual health clinic. And if they still have a problem, then show them the door instead!

Don’t forget you can offer other sexual services, such as fantasy or hand relief.

Drugs and Working

It is not a good idea to use any drugs while you’re working. This includes alcohol and pharmacy drugs. Drugs and alcohol can affect your judgment and coordination, which you need at work to stay in control and monitor any unsafe behaviour by clients. They can also dull your senses, which can make it harder to tell if the service is hurting—a sign you are damaging your body and putting yourself at risk of infection.

Be wary of accepting drinks or drugs from a client because you don’t know what could be in them. If you want to drink or use drugs try to wait until after work!

If you are under the influence it can be harder to take control of a situation. This may make safe sex harder to negotiate. If you’ve been drinking or taking drugs you don’t always sense when something is not right. Many drugs—including alcohol and pharmacy drugs—affect your co-ordination. Condoms can be slippery and fiddly things and they must be put on correctly to work properly and to avoid breakage.