Are you sexually active? Have you had unprotected sex?
How Many Americans Have Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’S)?
More than half of all American’s will get a sexually transmitted disease or infection at some point in their lives. It’s the cold hard truth.
Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs are common and affect men and women of all backgrounds, races and socioeconomic levels.
According to the US Health & Human Services approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases are reported each year.
When Should You Get Tested For STD’s?
If you have had oral, vaginal or anal sex – especially if it was unprotected – you should get tested, since STDs and infections are passed from person to person through intimate sexual contact.
It is possible to have a sexually transmitted disease without knowing it because you may not have any physical symptoms.
Condoms are effective at reducing your risk, but even condoms are fallible.
A few Symptoms of an STD
- Painful urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Discharge from the penis in men
- Pain during sexual intercourse in women
- Bleeding between periods in women
- Testicular pain in men
- Painful bowel movements
- Anal itching
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Genital Herpes
- Viral Hepatitis
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It is normal and healthy to have a small amount of vaginal bacteria. If you have multiple sexual partners it is common for the number of bacteria to increase which causes bacterial vaginosis. It can easily be treated with antibiotics.
Common Symptoms: Vaginal itching, pain during urination, thin or milky discharge with a “fishy” odor or no symptoms at all.
There are over 100 strains of HPV, some types cause warts on your hands and feet and other types may cause genital warts. Most are harmless. About half of all men and about 3 out of 4 women have HPV or will get HPV at some point in their life. HPV8 is the most common STD | STI.
Most people with HPV do not experienced any symptoms and don’t know they are infected.
HPV can cause abnormal changes to cervical cells, which if left untreated can cause cervical cancer. That is why routine Pap smears are so important.
There is also a new HPV vaccine which is recommended for young boys and girls to help control the spread of the human papillomavirus.
Another common STD or STI, Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and lead to permanent damage of your reproductive system resulting in infertility.
It is also a disease that can be passed to your child if you are pregnant which can lead to eye infections or pneumonia.
Chlamydia can easily be treated with antibiotics.
Common Symptoms: Low-grade fever, unusauly discharge of the penis or vagina, stomach pain, painful intercourse, swelling inside the vagina or around the anus, frequent urination, spotting between periods or no symptoms at all.
This STD is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Like Chlamydia, if left untreated it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and lead to permanent damage of your reproductive system resulting in infertility. If you are pregnant it can also infect the developing fetus.
Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics
Common Symptoms: Yellowish or yellow-green vaginal discharge, painful urination, pus-like discharge from penis, swelling or tenderness of the vulva, bleeding or spotting between periods or changes to your menstrual cycle
This common STD is caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of herpes strains. Oral herpes is caused by type 1 and genital herpes is caused by type 2 or HSV-2 strain. Most people have no symptoms or minimal symptoms which include blisters. This sexually transmitted disease is most contagious when there is an outbreak of blisters.
If you are pregnant, genital herpes can be passed to your child which can cause life-threatening neonatal herpes simplex virus affecting your newborn’s skin, brain and other vital organs.
There is no cure for herpes, but outbreaks can be controlled with medication.
Common Symptoms: Painful, cluster of watery blisters on or around your genitals, difficulty urinating, open sores, itching, pain at infected area
A STD caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. The primary stage usually cause sores or chancres on your genitals, lips, mouth, breasts or anus. The secondary stage causes body rashes, usually on the palms of your hands and soles of our feet. If gone untreated it can spread to other organs including your skin, heart, blood vessels, bones, liver and joints. In the late stage of the disease it can cause severe damage to your nervous system, brain and eye and even cause death.
If you are pregnant with syphilis the bacterium can be passed on to your baby which can cause a miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects.
Syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics
Common Symptoms: Painless genital sore, mild fever, fatigue, sore throat, hair loss, weight loss, swollen glands, headache, muscle pains or no symptoms at all.
A STD caused by by the single-celled protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It is most common in young sexually active women but it can also infect men. Like most STD Trichomoniasis does not always cause symptoms.
If you are pregnant with Trichomonas it can cause premature birth, low birth weight or stillbirth
Common Symptoms: Unpleasant-smelling discharge, blood spotting in discharge, genital soreness, swelling, itching or redness in the groin area, painful urination
HIV also known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus that causes AIDS or the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. There are several stages of HIV. Most people with HIV do not know they have it because symptoms don’t usually occur for 10 years. First signs include swollen glands, low-grade fever, fatigue and muscles aches. HIV weakens and destroys your body’s immune system by attacking blood cells that ward off infection.
The advanced stage of HIV infection is known as AIDS. If you have full-blown AIDS your body is susceptible to all kinds of infections and illnesses that do not usually make people sick, but because you have such a weakened immune system they can wreck havoc on your body.
Nowadays, AIDS can be prevented by early initiation of antiretroviral therapy.
If you are pregnant with HIV or AIDS the virus can spread to our child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.
Although there is no cure to completely eradicate the virus from your body, it is possible to live with HIV with the lifelong use of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART).
There are three types of hepatitis, all can be transmitted through sexual contact. However, the most common type of hepatitis sexually transmitted is Hepatitis B. It is spread by semen, vaginal fluids, blood and urine. Hepatitis is a serious infection of the liver disease that causes immediate illness and lifelong infection which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, liver failure and even death. If you are pregnant, you can transmit Hepatitis to your child during delivery.
Common Symptoms: Loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, pain in joints, pain in lower abdomen, hives, fever, pale-colored bowel movements, dark urine, yellowing of eyes and skin