The Zika virus is no joke, guys. We all know the Zika virus as a nasty mosquito-borne illness, but there’s so much more to it concerning your sex life and traveling life. Following this guideline could help halt the Zika epidemic and prevent it from being spread.
Did you know that Zika is a sexually-transmitted disease and can cause not only flu-like symptoms, but even paralysis? Zika can also be transmitted from an expecting mother to its fetus, causing the baby to be born with visible birth defects. To avoid spreading the virus, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends men wait at least three months to have unprotected sex and women should wait two months. Pregnant women should also avoid traveling to affected areas.
“The CDC has been continuously reviewing evidence in published literature based on emerging data, which suggests the most likely time for men to transmit the virus sexually is in the first month or two after infection,” says Dr. Peggy Honein, M.D., director of congenital and developmental disorders. “There is so much we still don’t understand about exactly how [transmission] occurs,” she adds, stating that research shows that Zika has been found in semen for up to 69 days, and could last longer.
Microcephaly is a common birth defect of babies whose mother has passed the Zika virus onto them. This birth defect is known as a smaller than normal head size due to abnormal brain development. The CDC has released a list of areas with a high risk of Zika, and these places should be avoided at all costs. If for some reason these places can’t be avoided, it’s recommended to wear insect repellent, long sleeves, and long pants, and use a barrier method for vaginal, anal, and oral sex just to be safe.
Zika can be diagnosed when the host exerting symptoms such as fever, rash, headaches, and muscle and joint pain. This guideline isn’t just for couples having unprotected sex or planning to conceive, it’s designed to help all sexually active adults (and non-sexually active adults) avoid a major and potentially harmful encounter with the Zika virus.
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