Shortie Says – 10/30/09

Dear Shortie,
How long can sperm live outside the human body (like in the air or in the bathtub)?

Dear Spermophobe,
Sperm does not immediately die once it hits the air. The lifetime of sperm outside of the human body can range from a half hour to a few hours. The sperm is dead once the semen is dried up. In water, such as in a hot tub or bath, the lifetime can be longer. However, there is little risk of getting pregnant from sperm in bathwater or a hot tub. The concentration of sperm in a tub filled with water is extremely low and the chances of this sperm making its way to an egg are even lower. Although the risk is small, bathing in sperm-filled water is not recommended because no matter how small the risk, there is always a chance pregnancy could occur.

Dear Shortie,
What is the difference between an STI and an STD?

Dear Confused,
The term currently used by health care providers is STI, which stands for sexually transmitted infection. STIs used to be called STDs, which stands for sexually transmitted disease. Health care providers pushed for a change in terminology because the word disease is associated with clear symptoms. Several of the most common STDs or STIs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of people infected. The change from "disease" to "infection" is meant to inform people that many STIs are not diseases because they do not have clear symptoms.

Dear Shortie,
I’m really nervous about roofies. Are there any warning signs that my drink has been drugged?
-Hands Off

Dear Hands Off,
The drug mentioned in this question, Rohypnol, goes by many names such as "roachies," "rophies," "ruffies," "La Rocha," "the date rape drug" and "roofie," just to name a few. Rohypnol is used as a surgical anesthetic or sleeping pill in many countries but the United States is not one of them. The drug enhances the effects of alcohol: decreased inhibition, sleepiness and memory loss. Rohypnol is dropped into drinks at bars and parties, leaving recipients weak and without memory of events that occur after the drug takes effect.
How can someone avoid being drugged? Don’t accept open drinks from strangers and acquaintances and don’t leave your drinks unattended. What are the warning signs of a drugged drink? The manufacturer of Rohypnol has reformulated the drug so that it turns a light-colored beverage bright blue. However, older pills are still out there and someone shouldn’t assume their drink hasn’t been drugged if it is not blue in color. Rohypnol is often colorless, odorless and tasteless when dissolved in liquid.

If someone is sexually assaulted and thinks they were drugged, they can be tested for Rohypnol through a urine test up to three days after the assault. It is also important to know that people are also drugging non-alcoholic beverages.

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