Sex is a lot more fun when you don’t have to worry about getting a sexually transmitted disease. The truth of the matter is, if you are dating, or changing partners, you are more likely to get an STD than those who are in completely monogamous relationships. Statistics paint a scary picture especially about Americans and the rate of infection. Here are some important eye opening facts about STDs and how to prevent them.
high risk version can cause cervical and other cancers. Often the body’s immune system will fight off the infection within two years.
- Chlamydia: the most common and rampant STD due to it’s innocuous side effects. Can take months or even years to show signs or symptoms. It effects a man’s urethra and a woman’s cervix, like Gonorrhea. Symptoms include a thick slightly discolored discharge from the penis or vagina. Passed through penile/vaginal contact. Latex condoms prevents Chlamydia.
- Gonorrhea: One of the most common STDs, the CDC estimates that there are over 700,000 new cases each year. Also known as “the clap.” Undetected can lead to infertility in men and women without showing any symptoms. Treatable and preventable. 15-29 year olds living in Colorado have the highest incidence of Gonorrhea in the US. Many people do not exhibit any symptoms at all. It may cause a woman to bleed in between her periods, or difficulty for both men and women urinating. Testicles may swell. Can cause infections in the mouth, eyes, anus. Can spread to the blood and joints. Preventable using a latex condom, or dental dam.
- Herpes: Often the person who has it doesn’t even know. Can cause blisters that are painful around the anus or genitals. Symptoms can be lessened with antiviral medication, but there is no known cure. However, there are some comforting websites out there that have healing remedies. Here is one I found with great information. Having sex with someone who has an outbreak is not safe even with a condom because the blisters can be outside of the protected area of the condom.
- HPV: There are over 100 different types of Human Papilloma Viruses. Often no symptoms are evident. Can cause genital warts, but not always. The warts can be removed several different ways. No cure. A surgery can be done to remove the cells from the inside of the vagina and/or cervix (cryosurgery).
- Trichomoniasis: The most common STD. Often no symptoms in men at all. Women may have a thick yellowish or greenish frothy vaginal discharge. There may be swelling of the vaginal tissue, or labia as well as painful urination. Men may have painful urination. Since reinfection is common, it is important for all partners to be notified and treated also. Trichomoniasis can make you more susceptible to HIV (AIDS). Latex condom and dental dam will prevent infection.
- Chancroid: Bacterial infection only spread through sexual contact. Causes painful sores or ulcers in the genital region. Antibiotics and having the dead skin from the ulcer removed to prevent reinfection. Not very common in the US. Prevalent in the sex industry with sex workers and their clients. Condoms will help, but do not fully protect because it is spread through skin-to-skin contact.
- Hepatitis: Not thought of as a sexually transmitted disease, but rather a drug users disease there are three types spread through sexual contact. Hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted through sex. All forms cause liver damage. B and C are the leading cause of liver cancer. Fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting are all symptoms. Spread through fecal matter, anal sex, or people preparing food that don’t wash their hands properly. Vaccines are available in a series, but no cure. Condoms will reduce your risk.
- HIV/AIDS: An autoimmune disease spread through sexual contact and swapping bodily fluids. Fever, rashes, lesions, sweats and blurred vision are symptoms. You can have HIV for years and not have any symptoms at all. Ultimately HIV can lead to AIDS and death. People are most contagious soon after becoming infected, when there are no symptoms. There is treatment post infection, that can help you live a relatively healthy life.
- Syphilis: A very sneaky STD that causes a bacterial infection of the genital tract also known as “Treponema Pallidum.” Spread by direct contact of the small, painless sores of the mouth, on the vagina, penis, anus or genitals that are not protected by a condom. Other symptoms include: hair loss, sore throat, head ache and white patchy skin.
- Mucopurulent Cervicitis (MPC) Caused by Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or other STDs when left untreated. Sometimes can be present without any symptoms at all. Can cause bleeding during or after sex, unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding between periods. Antibiotics can clear this infection up. Be sure to do a follow-up after the course of antibiotics is complete.