- What are STDs?
- Do many people get STDs?
- How can I avoid getting an STD?
- What is Chlamydia?
- What is Gonorrhea?
- What is Hepatitis B?
- What is Herpes?
- What is HIV?
- What is Human Papilloma Virus?
- What is Syphillis?
- What is Trichomoniasis?
- How can I find out if I have an STD?
What are STD’s?
"STD" stands for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. An STD is an infection which is passed from one person to another during sexual activity through body fluids and secretions. The most common way to become infected with an STD is through vaginal intercourse, but STDs can also be exchanged during any sexual activity, such as oral sex and “outercourse.”
Do many people get STDs?
Every year, millions of people get a sexually transmitted disease (STD). There are over 32 types of STDs and you are vulnerable to STDs at any age. You can have an STD and have no symptoms for weeks, months and possibly years, yet still be passing it onto your sexual partners. Every year more that 19.1 million Americans contract a new STD infection. One out of every two sexually active single persons will get an STD by the age of 25.
How can I avoid getting an STD?
Chastity is the only sure, 100% way to prevent contracting an STD. Even having sex with just one person outside of marriage can greatly increase your risk of a disease. Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last 10 years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last 10 years.”
What is Chlamydia? 1
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD in the United States, and teenagers have the highest Chlamydia infection rate of any group. A woman usually receives the bacteria from a man during intercourse. She can carry it in her cervix, uterus, tubes and ovaries for months or years and not know it. When it does flare up, it causes pain: pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and painful bowel movements. Often a woman will also have a fever and urethral discharge. Infertility is commonly an unavoidable result. A dangerous feature of Chlamydia is that a person can be infected for days or years and not be aware of it.
Men infected with Chlamydia may also have no symptoms and may carry the infection and unknowingly infect their partner. Men may have discharge of puss from the penis and burning sensations with urination as symptoms of this infection.
What is Gonorrhea? 2
This bacterial STD is commonly called the "clap." Gonorrhea is almost always contracted through direct person-to-person contact and/or sexual intercourse. This is yet another STD that may infect a person for days or weeks without any symptoms. It is highly communicable. There is a 40% chance of contracting Gonorrhea from just one sex act with an infected person. Some symptoms for a woman may include creamy or green, pus-like vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, and painful urination. Long term complications for women may include; Pelvic Inflammatory Disease which can lead to sterility, and abscesses. Gonorrhea can also be transferred to newborns.
Some symptoms for men may include painful urination, creamy or green, pus-like penile discharge, or testicular pain. Gonorrhea-infected people who engage in oral sex may spread the infection to the mouth and throat of their partner. Epididymitis, an inflammation of the testicles that can cause sterility, may be a long term complication for men.
What is Hepatitis B? 3
Hepatitis B is an extremely infectious virus transmitted in sexual secretions, saliva, and blood. Blood transfusions, getting infected blood on a break in the skin, or using contaminated intravenous needles can cause a Hepatitis B infection. It is important to know that a person can have Hepatitis B without being aware of it, and he or she can also be a chronic carrier of the disease. A person who is infected with this disease will initially develop jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and whites of the eyes), tiredness, nausea, dark urine, and gray colored stools. This clears up after a few weeks. The infected person, however, may still have the virus in his or her liver, causing chronic infection. This can result in cancer of the liver or cirrhosis of the liver. Both of these illnesses can lead to the requirement of liver transplants or eventual death. There is no cure for this disease, but there is treatment available. Most people can recover from this disease but some people become carriers and have the infection for years.
What is Herpes? 4
Herpes Simplex type 2 (HS-2) is a sexually transmitted disease which is almost always contracted through intercourse or other intimate physical contact. For women, blisters and sores may appear on the vulva, inside the vagina, on the cervix, or in the anal region. These same blisters can be found on the penis, scrotum, or anus of a man. Flu-like symptoms may also be experienced by both men and women. Once you have Herpes, you may get these outbreaks every so often. Herpes is a virus, so there is no cure. Women can pass on the virus to their newborns during childbirth. There are medications which can be applied to aid in the pain and/or appearance of these sores. A sex partner may be infectious even if a sore is not present.
What is HIV? 5
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is spread through the blood, semen and vaginal discharges of an HIV infected person. People can get HIV when they have contact with these fluids. This can happen by engaging in specific sexual and/or drug abuse practices. Also, an HIV infected woman can pass along this disease to her newborn baby during child birth. Many people do not know they have the disease because they feel fine for many years after the infection occurs. You can become infected with the HIV virus through unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral sex, through contact with infected semen, blood, or vaginal secretions. You can also become infected through the sharing of needles during drug use. An HIV infected person will probably develop AIDS and eventually die from its effects. There are medications which can be used to prolong life, but there is no said cure as of yet. Condoms are not 100% effective in eliminating the risk of HIV.
HPV is a sexually transmitted viral infection that infects the skin and mucous membranes, including those in the genital area. Both men and women get this disease.
HPV is transmitted two ways: by skin-to-skin contact and by contact with infected body fluids. It is most often spread by sexual activity or sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral sex).
HPV is the most common viral STD. Some people with HPV have warts on (or in) their genitals, but most people with HPV don’t know they are infected. A pap smear can detect HPV infection in women. Infection with certain strains of HPV causes cervical cancer in women. All sexually active women should have regular pap smears so that cervical cancer and other problems caused by HPV can be recognized and treated. Cancer of the penis is the greatest danger for men who contract HPV.
There is no cure for HPV. Because most people don’t know they have HPV, they don’t seek medical treatment. Warts caused by HPV can be treated, but the warts may still return. Abnormal pap smears and cervical cancer can be treated, but successful treatment depends on finding those problems early.
What is Syphilis? 7
Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called treponema pallidum. This organism can die quickly if it is not in a warm, moist environment. It can only be transmitted from one moist area to another. It is most commonly contracted through intercourse or genital contact. Upon getting this infection, one will initially see a chancre sore within ten days to three months of becoming infected. If not treated, the infection will evolve into a secondary, more serious stage. The standard treatment of syphilis is penicillin.
Some useful resources are:
What is Trichomoniasis? 8
Trichomoniasis is a parasitic STD caused by parasites which are spread through sexual activity. Symptoms for both men and women include discharge, genital irritation and painful urination. It can be cured with prescription medication.
How can I find out if I have an STD?
You can receive anonymous testing for sexually transmitted diseases & HIV at the Board of Health on Burnet Avenue & Martin Luther King Drive. Their hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. If you have been sexually active, call for an appointment: 513-357-7300.