We already knew that the Zika virus, which is causing major panic among global health officials, could potentially be transmitted via sex. (Here are 7 Things You Should Know About The Zika Virus). But new cases are causing concern that Zika could become an STD threat.
Up until recently, there was limited evidence that people could contract the flu-like virus through sexual contact. But the STD thing really hit our radars earlier this month when a woman in Texas contracted the virus after having sex with a partner who had been traveling in a Zika infected area. Now, just a matter of weeks later, there have been 14 cases of sexually transmitted Zika—all in women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects to see more cases like this is the coming months.
This is scary news considering the fact that Zika was previously only a threat to people traveling to high-risk areas (mostly in the Caribbean and Central and South America). Now, it's a threat to everyone sleeping with those travelers. (In related sex news, people are developing condoms made out of grass!)
Although the majority of people who come down with Zika won't suffer severe consequences (most healthy adults with the virus just have flu-like symptoms for a few days), it has been linked to potential paralysis and can cause serious birth defects in babies of pregnant women who contracted the virus. (According to the CDC, several of the women in this recent investigation are pregnant.)
For some time, the only evidence that Zika can be transmitted via sex applies to men passing the virus to women, but a new case of a couple in NYC suggests that women can transmit the disease to men as well.
These latest reports make condom use even more imparitive—especially if you or your partner have been in one of the high-risk countries recently. So follow the CDC's advice and wrap it up.