Sexually Transmitted Disease.
When was the last time you had a conversation about Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD’s)? Not something that most of us find easy to talk about. Studies show this is due to the stigma attached to contacting an STD. According to a study conducted in 2015, over 84% of people questioned about contracting an STD believed if they contracted an STD, people would think they had “bad morals”. In the same study more than 86% believed people would be “disgusted by them” if they contracted an STD.
STD’s ARE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK!
The CDC estimates that there are about 20 million new sexually transmitted disease cases each year. Some studies estimate that up to one in two sexually active people will contract an STD before they’re 25. But STD’s, make no mistake affects all ages and races. In Bexar County alone according to the DSHS, there were a reported 4,493 new cases of HIV diagnosis. Although it can affect all ages the age group most affected are as follows. Ages 20 – 24 with 815 new cases, 25 – 29 with 989 new cases, 30 – 24 with 707 new cases and 45 and older with 948 new cases. Of those cases by race, Hispanic had 1’745 new cases, Blacks with 1’623. new cases and Whites with 937 new reported cases. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are many more cases that have not yet been reported.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The main sexually transmitted diseases are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and Genital Herpes.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common STD that can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. This can make it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb)
How is chlamydia spread?
You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. If your sex partner is male you can still get chlamydia even if he does not ejaculate (cum).
If you’ve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again. This can happen if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.
How can I reduce my risk of getting chlamydia?
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years.
How is gonorrhea spread?
You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.
Am I at risk for gonorrhea?
Any sexually active person can get gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for gonorrhea or other STD’s. Men who are gay, bisexual, or who have sex with men, should be tested for gonorrhea every year. If you are a sexually active woman younger than 25 years or an older woman with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year. Learn more about gonorrhea.
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated. Syphilis is divided into stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). There are different signs and symptoms associated with each stage.
How is syphilis spread?
You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can find sores on or around the penis, vagina, or anus, or in the rectum, on the lips, or in the mouth. Syphilis can spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.
Without treatment, syphilis can spread to the brain and nervous system (neurosyphilis) or to the eye (ocular syphilis). This can happen during any of the stages.
What is Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that any sexually active person can get. Most people with the virus don’t have symptoms. Even without signs of the disease, herpes can still be spread to sex partners. Genital herpes is caused by two types of viruses. The viruses are called herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Genital herpes is common in the United States. More than one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes.
What is oral herpes?
Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 and can result in cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. However, most people do not have any symptoms. Most people with oral herpes were infected during childhood or young adulthood from non-sexual contact with saliva.
Is there a link between genital herpes and oral herpes?
Oral herpes caused by HSV-1 can be spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex. This is why some cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1.
How is genital herpes spread?
You can get genital herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease.
If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:
- A herpes sore;
- Saliva (if your partner has an oral herpes infection) or genital secretions (if your partner has a genital herpes infection);
- Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.
You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
Can herpes be cured?
There is no cure for herpes. However, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. One of these anti-herpes medicines can be taken daily and makes it less likely that you will pass the infection on to your sex partner(s). Learn more about Genital Herpes.
In the case of bacterial STD’s like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, simple antibiotics can easily cure the infection. But if left untreated, these infections can spread to and damage other parts of the body. Always have protected sex unless you are in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results. Use latex condoms to help prevent any STD infections.