Sexually Transmitted Diseases
What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that can
be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact.
Most STDs are treatable. Some however, such as AIDS, herpes (HSV)
and genital warts, which are all caused by viruses, have no cure.
Syphilis, AIDS, herpes and even gonorrhea have been known to cause
death so education about these diseases is very important.
Many STDs can lead to other problems such as pelvic inflammatory
disease, cervical cancer and problems during pregnancy. Gonorrhea
is becoming resistant to traditional antibiotics that once cured
Some Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Chlamydia - Chlamydia is a very dangerous STD
and it usually has no symptoms; 75% of infected women and 25%
of infected men have no symptoms at all and therefore spread it
Gonorrhea - Gonorrhea is one of the most frequently
reported STDs. 40% of its victims contract PID (pelvic inflammatory
disease) if not treated, and it can cause sterility.
Hepatitis B – There is a vaccine for Hepatitis
B but no cure; can cause cancer of the liver.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) - Painful and reoccurring;
can be treated but there's no cure. Herpes simplex virus is the
most common STD in the US. More than 1 million people acquire
herpes each year and over 5 million people acquire HPV each year.
HIV/AIDS - First recognized in 1984, AIDS is
the sixth leading cause of death among young men and women. The
virus is fatal.
Human Papalloma Virus (HPV) & Genital Warts –
This is the most common STD, 33% of all women have this virus,
which can cause cervical or penile cancer and genital pain.
Syphilis - Untreated, can lead to serious damage
of the brain or heart.
Trichomoniasis - Can cause foamy vaginal discharge or no symptoms
at all and can cause premature birth in pregnant women.
Signs You Have an STD
Some common signs that you may have an STD are:
- Itchiness or pain and discharge in the genital area
- Painful urination or burning or itching sensation while urinating
- Frequent need to urinate
- Pain during intercourse
- Red sores on the genitals or the throat or anal area
- Persistent sore throat in people who have oral sex
- Warts or open sores or blisters in the genital area
- Yellow (jaundiced) skin color or eyes
What Causes STDs
STDs are caused by either bacteria or viruses. STDs caused by
bacteria are Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. These can be
treated with antibiotics. Other STDs are caused by viruses such
as HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, and genital warts. Once the body
is infected with one of these viruses, it will never leave the
body. Some can be treated but there is no cure.
Important things to know:
- Even if you have no symptoms, you can still have and spread
- Teenagers and young adults get more STDs than any other age
- Women have a higher chance of getting STDs than men
- Condoms greatly reduce the risk of contracting an STD
- Condoms should be worn during oral sex as well to help prevent
transmission of STDs
You can prevent an STD by:
Abstinence. Refraining from sex is the only 100% way to prevent
If you do have sex:
- Wear a condom
- Ask your partner about their sexual health
- Get regular check ups for STDs
What to do if you have an STD
If you have an STD, it is very important that you take the proper
steps to protect and take care of yourself and others. You should
always take any and all of your medication. You should also tell
any or all of your sex partners so they can be treated right away.
You may feel embarrassed or ashamed but it’s important that
STDs get treated as soon as possible so you should tell anyone
you may have infected. You should not have sex at all when you
are being treated for an STD. After your treatment, you should
use a condom whenever you have sex.
If you have open sores or rashes from an STD, you should not
touch them. If you do touch them, you need to wash your hands
immediately. STDs such as herpes are spread to other parts of
the body quickly due to touching the sores.