Despite educational efforts and protective measures in place to reduce the risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that there has been an uptick in STDs. STDs, also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections are transmitted when individuals engage in unprotected sexual activity. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for contracting an STD, but some groups are at higher risk than others. According to the CDC, men who have sex with men experience higher STD rates, and half of all new STD infections occur in young people in the age 15-24 age group.
What are Some Common STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases have been around for a long time. Most people are familiar with syphilis, genital herpes, gonorrhea, and HIV. Other sexually transmitted infections include chlamydia, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, hepatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
It is possible to have an STD and not be symptomatic which is why the best protection against STD is to not have sex. An individual can look perfectly healthy and carry STDs, making it important for sexually active individuals to protect themselves. The CDC recommends using condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting STDs, especially when one is unsure of whether the person he or she is having sex with has an infection.
It is Important to Avoid STDs
STDs can be treated, and many STDs can be cured after treatment. However, the availability of treatment and cures no matter how successful, should not lull a sexually active individual into a false sense of security. Taking chances because treatments exist is risky because of the long-term and devastating impacts of some STDs.
When an STD is left untreated because an individual is not aware that he or she is infected, there is the potential to spread the infection to many people. Untreated STDs can also lead to sterility, impacting the ability to have children. Untreated STDs can also cause developmental issues during pregnancy.
There are STDs that can be fatal. HIV left untreated can be deadly when it progresses to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Human papillomavirus is a precursor to cervical cancer and if the cancer is not diagnosed and treated early, can lead to death.
Take Steps to Prevent STDs
Abstaining from sex is the surest way to prevent STDs and recognized that intimacy can be achieved outside of sexual intercourse. Getting tested for STDs is important for people who are sexually active. The earlier STDs are diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. A monogamous relationship with a person who does not have an STD and using condoms during intercourse can also protect sexually active people from STDs.