Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Just The Facts

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) continue to be a major health concern in the United States and throughout the world, and are frequently diagnosed in men and women who engage in various forms of sexual activity. STDs are not limited to certain races, cultures, income levels or a particular sexual preference. It is important, therefore, for anyone who is sexually active to be knowledgeable about how STDs are transmitted and to learn the ways you can limit your exposure to various diseases.

A Sexually Transmitted Disease, also known as an “STD”, is an infection that is transmitted between two or more individuals usually during a sexual act or some other exchange of bodily fluids. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) that more than 50% of all people will contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease in their lifetime.

Once called venereal diseases, STDs are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States today. It is the sharing of blood or other bodily fluids that allows the infection to be transmitted from one person to another. More than 20 STDs have now been identified, including the most commonly known diseases: HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, Genital Herpes, Trichomoniasis (aka Trichomonas) and HPV. Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases, such as the HIV and Syphilis infections, can also be spread by non-sexual contact with bodily fluids. Such infections would include transmission to an unborn child through the mother during pregnancy and delivery, or infections spread from person to person through intravenous drug use (including tattooing or ear piercing procedures) with an unclean (“dirty”) needle.

Bacterial infections (such as Gonorrhea and Syphilis) and those STDs caused by parasites (including Trichomoniasis or Scabies) can be effectively treated with medication and cured. Symptoms of STDs which are caused by viral infections (such as HIV, Genital Herpes or Hepatitis) are treatable, but the disease itself cannot be cured.

Although a great deal of progress has been made in recent years toward the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of many STDs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia estimate that approximately 19 million new STD infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.

Practice safe sex. Talk to your partner(s) regarding each other’s health status before engaging in a sexual relationship. If you notice any rash, bumps or sores on your body, or experience any unusual bodily discharge (from the vagina in the female, or the penis in the male), stop having sex immediately, and make an appointment for an examination with your doctor or local health care provider. If you have been diagnosed with any form of a Sexually Transmitted Disease, or STD, notify all partners immediately; take all medications as prescribed; and do not have sex again until you and your partner(s) are physically cleared to resume sexual activity.

Hidden Epidemic of Asymptomatic Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

The cases of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are ever increasing due to uncontrolled sexual contacts, and because many do not know the basic knowledge of such diseases. Asymptomatic sexually transmitted diseases appear silently, and the unaware people become easy victims to such diseases. On contracting some sexually transmitted diseases, people can usually notice that something is going wrong, and seek medical advice accordingly. However, in some cases, they become infected but fail to notice any troubling symptoms, and can live years with such diseases, unknowing passing the infections to others during sexual contacts.

It is not untrue to say that such kinds of sexually transmitted diseases work as a hidden epidemic. You can imagine how fast it can infect countless people, as one passes to another, then the other to some other, and so on, the spreading grows rapidly in number. In fact, asymptomatic sexually transmitted diseases are more dangerous than those that erupt with apparent symptoms.

Most of the people with Chlamydia, a treatable sexually transmitted disease, fail to note any kind of symptoms of this disease. Gonorrhea remains hidden for long in 50% cases of infected women, and 10% cases in infected men. Many other such diseases remain dormant for months or even years, affecting more and more people. It is a fact that, due to not following the rules of having sex with known a partner only, or at least having the ‘safe sex,’ more than 19 million new STD cases are reported every year in the U.S. alone. This data has been collected by the Centers for Disease Control.

When such STDs are not treated in time, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and the infected women cannot bear children. As other long-term damages, they result in organ damage, general illness, or even death. Do not mistake that if you are feeling good, you are not involving yourself with the hazards of these diseases. Moreover, you will become a perfect source of spreading these diseases. Even if you got aware of the presence of such diseases, you may not get the troubling symptoms right away. Take examples of HPV, Herpes, etc. Herpes is silently transmitted, so are the viruses that cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and AIDS. Unfortunately, these diseases cannot be cured, and this increases the responsibility of those who are infected with one of them to take all the precautions to stop it from spreading.

If you follow the golden rule that prevention is better than cure, you should never cross the normal limits while fulfilling your sexual desire, and restrict sexual activities with known persons only, or at least observe safe sex rule