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Why it’s more important now than ever to practice safe sex

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Photo: Unsplash/Redd Angelo

Your parents have been telling you to practice safe sex since the ol’ “talk,” as wince-inducing as that is to remember. But two new studies are shedding light on just how—and why–it’s so important to really do so (moms always know best, after all).

A new study published in JAMA Oncology has found that more men have HPV than previously realized. Roughly 1,900 men were tested (between the ages of 18 and 59), and 45.2 percent had the genital STD (it is the most widespread STD, according to the CDC).

The thing is, men don’t visit an oncologist for a yearly exam like women do. And, because HPV doesn’t always have symptoms, they usually don’t know about the disease even if they have it. And though there’s a vaccine for men just as there is for women, only 10.7 percent of them take advantage of it.

This is a serious problem when you take into account the recent news that more women are dying of cervical cancer in the U.S. than previously thought, as reported by The New York TimesAnd African American women are affected at a significantly higher rate than white women (10.1 per 100,000 vs. 4.7 per 100,000).

Cervical cancer, however, is also very preventable when precautions are taken, i.e. getting screenings and having the proper follow-up monitoring. So, ladies—tell your guys to get the vaccine (it’s easy!) and continue to get your annual pap smears to be screened for this ever-more-common cancer.

Speaking of (safe) sex, this is how to get your sex drive back after stopping the pill. And this is the one thing that couples who have better sex do