Many STDs have no obvious symptoms or if any, are very mild ones; therefore, it’s very important to learn about STDs. Yet no matter how minor the symptoms are, STDs can still be harmful to you and to your sexual partner(s). It’s important to seek treatment for sexually transmitted diseases as early as possible in order to restore your health as well as to stop the spread of the disease. If you are sexually active—whether you have had oral, anal, vaginal intercourse or genital touching—you can get a sexually transmitted disease (STD), Options for Women advises that you get tested. The Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in America alone. Half of those are among people ages 15–24.
Have I Been Exposed To An STD?
If you have engaged in sexual activity, you have been exposed to the possibility of an STD. While some STDs have some symptoms, not all are obvious. Some may have no symptoms. Not all symptoms are obvious though. Some can cause a change in discharge, burning with urination or genital sores. If left untreated, some can even lead to infertility. The only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested. When sexually active, it’s advised to get tested at least once a year. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are very common. In fact, there are over 110 million cases in the U.S. with 20 million new infections each year. Prevalence estimates suggest that young people aged 15-24 years acquire half of all new STDs and that 1 in 4 sexually active adolescent females have an STD, such as Chlamydia or Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The Centers for Disease Control recommends STD testing for all sexually active people, and treatment right away if your test is positive. The infections associated with this epidemic are all preventable. If left undetected and untreated, STDs and STIs can increase your risk of acquiring another STD, and cause serious medical complications including painful sores, heart disease, cancer, birth defects and more. Early identification and treatment are key to the prevention and management of these outcomes. With early detection, all STDs are treatable and most STIs are curable. Our holistic reproductive health care program includes STD/STI treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV. Do not have sex during treatment of an STD. Notify all sex partners that you have an STD so they can be tested and treated. You should be re-tested for STDs 3-4 months after finishing treatment.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
STDs are infections spread by sexual contact with skin, genitals, mouth, rectum, or body fluids. Although some STDs can be treated, others cannot. People with an STD may not know they have it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States, 1 out of 4 women between the ages of 14 and 19 is infected with at least one STD. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) pose a serious risk to future reproductive and overall health, especially if left untreated. People who have an STD are at least 2 to 5 times more likely to contract HIV, the virus which leads to AIDS. As your number of partners and sexual encounters increases, your risk of contracting an STD increases dramatically.
What is Your STD Risk?
Most STD’s go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized or are very mild. An infected individual can share an STD with their partner before ever realizing they have one. Because they are often asymptomatic, it’s important to be tested. Preventing STDs According to the Centers for Disease Control, “A reliable way to avoid transmission of STDs is to abstain from oral, vaginal, and anal sex or to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.” In other words, the only way to be sure you won’t get an STD is to not have sex, or to only have sex with one sexually healthy person who will only have sex with you.
But what about condoms?
Condoms cannot protect you against certain types of diseases, such as herpes, syphilis and HPV. Condom use can provide some protection from other STDs, but this protection still fails 21-40% of the time. See Birth Control and STDs for more. Additionally, a phenomenon known as “risk compensation behavior” typically applies as the availability of contraceptive methods such as condoms increases. This basically means that people who feel ‘safer’ by using a condom participate in riskier sexual behavior than those who do not use condoms. For example, analysis indicates that increasing access to condoms increases teen pregnancy rates in the long run, while reducing access to condoms reduces teen pregnancy rates.
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