STI Book Review
Review of “Sexually Transmitted Infections: The Essential Guide”
by Shae Courtney
Another book in the collection from “Need-2-Know”, “Sexually Transmitted Infections: The Essential Guide” offers unbiased, non-judgemental advice to all who seek it. The guide is primarily aimed at those giving advice to those in need, but as Heaton-Harris explains, is for those who are curious, cautious and those who have been or are affected by STIs. In the modern world, with a host of new threats to our health (sexual and otherwise) we must not be bashful about our activities. Thankfully, gone are the days when sex was the sole remit of giggly chattering in the playground. The author, Nicolette Heaton-Harris, does not mince her words; she is frank and she is to the point – something that modern STIs and modern attitudes need.
Throughout the book Heaton-Harris talks of “arming” ourselves to navigate a “minefield” of sexual hazards. She compares sexual education to many of the stepping-stones of life, such as preparing for school, preparing for social events, preparing to drive. Perhaps the preparing to drive scenario offers us the best model on which we to base sexual education. Parents often help their children with their first car, the insurance and the maintenance. For readers, the insurance acts as the sexual health element and the help with costs acts as the freedom and openness to chat about sex and seek advice. The author makes no secret of behavioural tendencies by younger generations either – she knows why young people have sex and talks openly and impartially about these tendencies.
The first eight chapters comprise of the common infections a person may catch and transmit via sexual contact. In each of the first eight chapters, staged questions are the format that Heaton-Harris has chosen to deliver the information to readers. To boot, there is a nifty facts and figures subchapter entitled “Factfile” at the end of each of the first eight chapters – they serve as both an informative read and a shocking insight.
Chapters 9-the end build upon the facts that have been delivered in the first eight chapters. Chapter 9 itself offers a very modern causal link between drinking too much alcohol and the apparent rise in STIs as a result. Again, Heaton-Harris delivers the evidence but does not assert her opinion upon the reader, rather letting him or her come to their own conclusion. Chapter 11 sympathizes with, rather than ostracizes, young people. Telling the story of a girl who met a guy over the Internet, Heaton-Harris offers sound advice and a fair opinion of the risks of Internet relationships.
At the very back of the book, are a number of pages dedicated to seeking help via organizations that are free and available locally. Throughout the 98-page book, Ms. Heaton-Harris has maintained a tone and range of language that is both warm and user-friendly. Although, as the front cover suggests, the book is aimed at parents of children and guardians, I feel confident that the author has achieved her goal in making the book accessible to all.
Author: Nicolette Heaton-Harris
Publisher: Need2Know, an imprint of Forward Press Ltd.